Laemmle Theatres Executes Sale-Leaseback Strategy to Generate Liquidity During COVID-19 Pandemic

PASADENA, Calif. – Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors and May Realty Advisors announced today that Los Angeles-based art-house cinema chain Laemmle Theatres has completed the sale-leaseback of its Pasadena, California location. Matthew M. May, president of May Realty Advisors, represented Laemmle Theatres. Carlos Lopez, executive vice president with Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors, represented the buyer, Arash Danialifar, CEO of GD Realty Group of Los Angeles, an owner and developer of urban commercial real estate comprising of retail, office and residential properties in prime Southern California locations.

Laemmle, pronounced “LEM-lee,” is synonymous with great independent, foreign and art-house cinema. Established in 1938 by Kurt and Max Laemmle, nephews of legendary Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, the company is currently run by Robert Laemmle and his son, Greg Laemmle. The theatre chain has served over a million film patrons each year from seven locations in the greater Los Angeles region including Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Encino, Pasadena, Claremont and a new construction cinema in Newhall.  

Laemmle Theatres’ 22,897-square-foot Laemmle Playhouse 7 is located at 673 E. Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena in the Playhouse District.

According to Lopez, “We were able to pair up local developer and investor Arash Danialifar with Laemmle Theatres to purchase its Pasadena Playhouse District location. Arash knows what a valuable, community amenity Laemmle Theatres is and was willing to provide the theater chain with a very favorable, long-term lease for its Pasadena cinema location.”

Danialifar’s GD Realty Group broke ground in July on a mixed-use residential development nearby at the northwest corner of Union Street and El Molino Avenue (one block north of Colorado Blvd.), at 635 E. Union Street in the Playhouse District. The building will have 40 units comprising of mostly two-bedroom and townhouse units with 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and underground parking. The development is scheduled to be completed in fall 2021.

Also, situated in the Playhouse District is GD Realty Group’s recently renovated retail building at 614-618 E. Colorado Boulevard.

May Realty Advisors also reports that the firm has completed a sale-leaseback of Laemmle Theatres’ West Los Angeles theater location and is currently working on the sale-leaseback of two other Laemmle Theatre locations.

“The theater chain, like many businesses during the pandemic-induced shutdown, has suffered financially and has been looking to increase its liquidity in order to remain in business,” May said. “Laemmle is very fortunate that the company owns its real estate and has the opportunity to work with buyers that want to see Laemmle continue operating like Arash Danialifar of GD Realty Group. We are grateful to Carlos Lopez of Hanley Investment Group for helping to put this deal together.”

May continues, “Laemmle Theatres has been around for over 80 years and plays a strategic role in providing independent film producers and the public with films of cultural value. We are excited to work with Laemmle Theatres’ CEO Greg Laemmle to find workable real estate  solutions for the company.”

Laemmle Theatres is available for auditorium rentals for private and public screenings, full week engagements, and has been qualifying feature films, documentaries, and shorts for Academy consideration for decades. Including private screenings, industry events, promotional screenings, word of mouth, research, press screenings, benefits, film clubs, private parties, and even film shoots. Laemmle Theatres has also added a virtual online cinema feature to accommodate those that want to view films from home.

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