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WOODLAND HILLS, CA-Activision Inc. will turn an industrial facility into a video game design studio after signing a 10-year lease with the owners of the 30-year-old, 53,000 sf building at 6041 Variel Ave., near Oxnard Street and DeSoto Avenue, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc. Cushman & Wakefield’s Ted Simpson, who represented Activision in the transaction, says the entertainment software publisher will relocate its Neversoft video game studio to the 6041 Variel address from a nearby office location. The building that Activision will occupy formerly served as a warehouse and customer service center for toy manufacturer Applause LLC, which is currently in Chapter 11 proceedings. Activision signed the lease after Cushman & Wakefield’s Asset Services engineering and project management teams identified the building’s potential for alternate use. Culver City-based architectural firm Wolcott Architecture . Interiors, was retained to oversee the design of the new video game studio. Activision’s Neversoft produces its Tony Hawk game, notes Dion Brain, senior director of North American operations for Activision. Simpson says the conversion is an example of how tenants in creative fields shun traditional high rise or even campus office settings. This trend could have significant impact in the San Fernando Valley which has a large inventory of older manufacturing and warehouse buildings. Simpson explains that companies like Activision prefer a stand-alone, low-rise building that is unique to them. Wolcott partner A.J. Wilder, the architect overseeing the Neversoft conversion, says the industrial buildings present “a variety of infrastructure and design challenges” when converted to new uses like the video game studio. While 28-foot ceiling heights may be too low for today’s industrial users, “they can be overwhelming in an office setting, creating issues of scale, lighting and acoustics,” he says. On the other hand, when they’re converted for uses like the Activision studio, the tenants find them “much more fun and interesting than traditional office space,” Wilder says. Brian Forster of Told Partners Inc. and Barry Saywitz of the Saywitz Co. represented the landlord, Toluca Moorpark Ltd., in the Activision lease. Terms of the lease were not disclosed, but industry sources estimate it is in the range of $10 million to $11 million.

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