Asia’s sexiest real estate investment firm is taking a risqué bet with its latest US investment as Gaw Capital Partners buys a facility formerly used to produce videos of Playboy bunnies.
The Hong Kong-based private equity firm has purchased a 107,875-square-foot (10,022-square-metre) studio campus in Los Angeles for $31 million, according to Gaw Capital representatives who communicated with Mingtiandi. 3030 Studios, which formerly served as the TV production facility for Playboy, is located in Atwater Village, in northeastern Los Angeles.
Gaw is purchasing the entertainment production complex, and its nearly four-acre (15,985 square metres) site, from Texas-based private investment firm World Class Capital Group, which acquired the property for $25 million in 2013.
The acquisition is the latest US deal by the investment house run by Goodwin Gaw and his siblings, and comes as the real estate specialists continue to raise money for a new North American fund.
Hong Kong Firm Moves into Entertainment Assets
“The property was highly sought after due to the existing infrastructure, as well as its Atwater Village location adjacent to the L.A. River, which has become quite popular with investors,” said Nicole Mihalka of JLL, which represented Gaw Capital Partners in the acquisition, as cited by media. The studio is within 15 minutes of Burbank and Hollywood. The Los Angeles area is in short supply of sound stage facilities, which had a 97 percent occupancy rate in 2017, added the real estate firm.
Built in 1950-1970 and last renovated in 2002, the property features a studio, production and creative office space, and offers a full-service production and broadcast facility with three sound stages.
“We think it’s a great value-add investment in an emerging part of Los Angeles. It has both a creative office and sound stage/production component both of which are in high demand in Los Angeles,” Dan Lee, Managing Director for Investments at Gaw Capital USA told Mingtiandi. The fund manager intends to keep the property as a functioning studio building while also operating creative office space on the campus, Lee added.
The news of Gaw’s TV production deal comes the same week that the company reopens the Varsity Theatre, a Minneapolis entertainment landmark that it acquired last year. The entertainment properties join a list of 15 US hotels and office buildings in Gaw’s North American portfolio.
Gaw Keeps Building US Portfolio
The Hong Kong fund manager is no stranger to the Los Angeles market. Company chairman Goodwin Gaw made his first major real estate investment in the city when he bought the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood for less than $10 million in 1995.
Since that time Gaw Capital has acquired, and later disposed of the 2.1 acres (8,457 square metres) Project League office property in the city, as well as the Project West office complex, and a theatre in Hollywood.
In May of last year, Gaw Capital purchased the Oakland Marriott City Center hotel in the Bay Area for $143 million, and the firm also bought Manhattan’s Standard Hotel for $323 million in October.
The family-run real estate investment firm has recently secured another $100 million for its $400 million Gaw US Fund III fund, targeting acquisition and repositioning or redevelopment of creative office and creative hospitality assets in the US.