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Movie production facility envisioned for Sacramento

by Sacramento Bee

Imagine a state-of-the-art movie production facility in Sacramento’s emerging River District, employing hundreds of people and drawing attention with public art no less riveting than the iconic Hollywood sign.

That’s the ambitious goal of local filmmaker Christina Marie, who says she has been working on the concept for the past several years and now is helping lay the groundwork for what would be a multimillion- dollar project.

“My thing is, go big or go home,” says Marie, owner of Sacramento’s Cow Town Film Productions.

She hopes her vision will ultimately be the focal point of a former warehouse building at 500 Richards Blvd. now slated for renovation in a joint venture with developer Kevin Terry.

The first step, Terry says, is “grounding” the project by bringing in retail services – including a gym, a coffee shop and a dry cleaners – for area residents, including those going in the planned, nearby Township 9 project.

Tenant improvement work for those uses starts in the next few months. But also being planned are sound stages and film support services that, Marie says, could become a big jobs center.

“This is a bootstrap, pull-yourself-out-of-the-recession project,” she says.

The film producer also promises some eye-catching public art, including one element that “will garner the attention of all of Sacramento if not the nation.”

And what that might that be?

Says Marie coyly, “You’ll have to wait and see.”

Investors wanted

This is no surprise. But OneWest Bank, which earlier this year foreclosed on midtown Sacramento’s L Streets Lofts condo project, now has opted to sell off the unsold portion of the building in bulk.

The bank could have tried to market individual units remaining at the eight-story complex. Instead, we hear, it’s hired CB Richard Ellis to find an investor interested in taking over.

The only real downside to the bank’s decision: It extends a sad state of limbo.

No units could be sold while the bank was determining what to do with the property. Now no sales can be made until there’s a new owner.

Musical chairs

The local office of Cushman & Wakefield has scored a recruitment coup, signing on an industrial team from rival Grubb & Ellis


Joining C&W are local standouts Matt Cologna and Bryce MacDonald, who will give the office its first presence in the industrial area.

“They cover a strategic market that we’ve pinpointed as one in which we want to expand,” says Ron Thomas, the firm’s managing partner, who was brought in earlier this year with orders to recruit heavy hitters in areas beyond its office and investment cores.

Next up: bringing in a retail team.

Thomas says there’s nothing to report yet there. But he calls the hiring of Cologna and MacDonald a “first step” in an ongoing effort to make C&W’s local office a full- service operation.

Feeling better

Restaurant industry legend Eppie Johnson is on the mend following heart surgery.

He’s had atrial fibrillation – irregular heartbeats. After four years of taking meds, Johnson says his docs suggested the recent procedure.

“I’m hoping it will give me more energy,” the 80-something Johnson said of the operation.

It seems like he has plenty of that already. He’s working with the California Restaurant Association on an event to promote local eateries. And, of course, he’s already talking up next year’s version of his Eppie’s Great Race triathlon charity event.

Photo: Bob Shallit, author of this article

Call The Bee’s Bob Shallit, (916) 321-1049.

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Posted in: News