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HOLLYWOOD, CA-Private equity fund Global Innovation Partners has acquired the historic Sunset-Gower Studios at Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street from the Pick-Vanoff Co. LLC of Los Angeles. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the new owner is believed to have paid north of $100 million for the historic film lot, where movies ranging from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” to “Lawrence of Arabia” were filmed, and TV shows like “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” were produced.Included in the purchase of the 18-acre facility along Sunset Boulevard are 12 soundstages and the Nickelodeon Theater, formerly named the Aquarius, which is a live television performance theater. The studio also contains 325,000 sf of office and support space.Menlo Park-based GI Partners, an international private equity fund that closed in March 2001 with $526 million capital from CalPERS and CB Richard Ellis Investors, says the studio purchase fits its strategic goals. Those include broadening its private equity and real estate portfolio into the media and entertainment space while building on its foundation of telecommunications and technology properties. Rick Magnuson, executive managing director of GI Partners, calls Sunset-Gower “one of Hollywood’s premier independent studios,” adding that the buyer is “very bullish on Hollywood and hopes that Sunset-Gower “will be the first of many investments” in operating businesses and real estate assets throughout the media sector.The new owner plans to invest in improvements to the studios, add new lot services and develop the property further. It will keep the existing operating team, which includes GM Steve Auer. Andrew Tainiter, a director with GI Partners, will be headquartered on the lot to focus on expanding services and the other changes the buyers plan.Built in the 1920′s, Sunset-Gower was home to many of Columbia Pictures’ most notable films. In recent years television productions included “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Golden Girls,” “JAG,” “Barney Miller” and “Married with Children.” Productions currently shooting at Sunset-Gower include HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” NBC’s “American Dreams,” UPN’s “Eve,” ABC’s “Eyes” and Nickelodeon’s local productions.

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