The former Rhythm and Hues campus. Photo by Mark McDermott
El Segundo exists between four borders: the airport to the north, industrial offices, mainly aerospace, to the east, the Chevron plant to the south, and the Pacific Ocean and an industrial coast to the west. Largely defined by these borders for years, the city is now experiencing a welcome influx of creative firms, especially in its Smoky Hollow neighborhood.
Now the six-acre Rhythm and Hues property at Grand Ave. and Continental Way has been purchased by Rockwood Capital for $25 million. The developers, Marshall Property & Development, plan to rework the space into offices for creative firms. The sale is another giant step forward in the artistic boom in El Segundo, further expanding the emerging “new creative” community beyond Smoky Hollow.
Rhythm and Hues, a prominent visual effects firm, filed for bankruptcy in February of this year, mere weeks before the company’s work on the film Life of Pi led to an Academy Award for special effects. In his acceptance speech, Bill Westenhofer attempted to highlight the widespread financial woes of the CGI industry but was cut off by the infamous Jaws theme that signals Oscar winners to leave the podium.
While there is little to celebrate in the troubles of the visual effects industry, the sale of the Rhythm and Hues campus makes room for many smaller creative firms to penetrate the South Bay.
According to a press release, Marshall Property & Development will invest up to $20 million to revamp the 200,000 square foot lot.
“Planned improvements include new interactive outdoor common areas, additional parking and completely new tenant spaces with generous floor to ceiling heights,” Rockwood’s PR firm said. “These improvements will provide a unique new campus workplace option for tenants in the South Bay.”
“The Marshall firm is hoping to showcase their product and tell the story of El Segundo,” said Ted Shove, the city’s Economic Development analyst. “There are multiple companies already interested, mostly gaming and post-production offices, looking for 20,000 to 50,000 footprints.”
The large campus provides opportunities in El Segundo for creative firms looking for spaces larger than the small Smoky Hollow neighborhood can offer.
Shove is confident that the development will happen quickly.
“We are already talking with the interested firms quite a bit to get their approvals finalized quickly,” he said. “We want their concepts to go through without a hitch.”