Equity has purchased a building at 5636 Tujunga Avenue in North Hollywood that will be the new Western Region headquarters.
“The building allows Equity opportunity for growth and income. It also provides long-term cost savings for the Association,” said Steven DiPaola, Assistant Executive Director for Finance and Administration, who represented Equity in the negotiations. “Ultimately, if Equity had decided to continue its lease at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard, the cost over 20 years would have been $300,000 more than it’s actually costing to own our own building.” He continued: “As our experience has proven, purchasing the real estate that Equity acquired in New York in 1978 and in Chicago in 2009 were prudent, forward-thinking strategies that have given Equity visibility and financial security, while also giving us the resources to develop and deliver services to our members. We now have a third, tangible real estate investment that strengthens our portfolio and expands our abilities in Los Angeles.”
Authorization for the building acquisition was approved by Council on October 16, 2012. The purchase price was $5.2 million, with an additional $1.5 million allocated to cover the costs of developing our program in the building. Money for the purchase and build out will come from some of Equity’s reserves and will not be an addition to the operating budget.
The purchase of the building is a sound financial investment that allows us to develop an audition center and have dedicated parking for our members and staff – which has been an issue in our past and current rental office space,” said Executive Director Mary McColl. “It also decreases the costs of maintaining a Los Angeles office when compared with long term rental expense, and the Association gains a new asset.”
Western Regional Director Mary Lou Westerfield added: “The membership and staff in Los Angeles have long hoped for a permanent home (we have moved at least five times in the last 30 years). The fact that our new home will also provide an Audition Center for the members is a dream come true.”
Built in 1948, and renovated in 2000, the new location is a free-standing, one-story structure that has 18,000+ square feet of space, in addition to on-site parking for 50+ vehicles, that will enable Equity to greatly expand services to the members. In addition to an Audition Center, there is room for additional office space, exterior signage and space to lease to a third party. Lease and rental income will help Equity to offset costs.
The North Hollywood area is an “enterprise” zone that has recently received $1 billion in funding from Los Angeles County for revitalization and development projects. The building resides in the NoHo Arts District that is receiving funding that will add to the value of the building.
Transit-wise, the building is a block away from several bus lines including the Orange Line that extends all the way to the west end of the San Fernando Valley, giving members incredible access to mass transit, including the North Hollywood Metro stop. It has close access to the 170, 101 and 134 freeways.
Renovations will begin later this year, with building occupancy expected in early 2014.