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Panavision plans move to Burbank

The company's relocation would help fill Burbank's recent jump in vacant office space.

August 15, 2009|By Christopher Cadelago

BURBANK — Panavision, a leading supplier of film and digital cameras to the motion picture and television industries, has announced plans to relocate to Burbank, merging its Woodland Hills and Hollywood locations into what executives are calling the largest rental facility serving the entertainment industry.

The announcement comes as Burbank, which historically boasts one of the county’s lowest office vacancy rates, shot from 4% in the first quarter to 17.2% in the second, according to real estate market firm Grubb & Ellis.

The jump in unoccupied real estate can be traced to the opening of multistory developments — the Pointe and 2300 Empire Center — ballooning available square footage by 800,000 to more than 1 million, city officials said.

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Panavision executives last month announced the citywide search for property to house camera and crane rental operations, manufacturing, research development and corporate headquarters that together occupy 28,000 square feet in Hollywood and 160,000 square feet in Woodland Hills.

The company has not yet opened negotiations with the city, but identified Burbank as the strongest contender of all neighboring cities, mostly for its proximity to world-class studio, television and commercial customers, said Margit Elo, president of U.S. operations for Panavision.

The company, which designs, manufactures, repairs and stores high-precision camera systems, is in search of a building that would accommodate most of its non-office activity on a single floor.

Scott McGookin, Burbank’s economic development manager, would not comment on Panavision’s move, but did acknowledge the city’s business-friendly approach.

The move away from onerous business-license fees makes a great deal of sense, said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

And the state-of-the-art Pointe and seven-story Empire Center gives Burbank the ability to recruit large corporations in need of space, he added.

“The city has been very accommodating to the entertainment industry in general,” Elo said.

Panavision employs 1,200 internationally and is looking to move between 250 and 300 employees into its new headquarters.

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