Bidding wars aren't only happening in residential real estate. There's one commercial sector in particular that's seeing some stiff competition: show business real estate.
At the end of last year, Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management LLC agreed to purchase CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles for $1.8 billion -- about $500 million more than what it was originally expected to nab. It's a mind-boggling sum, but when you think about how streaming services are pumping out hit movies and series seemingly every week, it's easy to see the enormous value of production space for investors.
How real estate investors can get their big breaks in show biz
Having half a billion dollars in the bank is certainly one way of getting your real estate investment portfolio into the movie biz. But assuming you don't have that kind of spare change, here are three more realistic ways to do it.
1. Rent your property for filming and content creation. Sound stages are one way to go for entertainment production, but filming in an actual home, office, restaurant, or other property makes it more real. Provided you're not averse to a cast and crew tromping through your home or office space, you can make money renting it out for film, TV, and photo shoots. Websites like Peerspace and LocoScout make it easy for investors and everyday homeowners alike to post their properties for production scouts to peruse. Depending on the production, property owners can stand to make thousands per day.
Don't forget: Social media influencers need bougie pads they can pretend they live in. If you've got an upscale property rental with cool amenities that you don't mind being seen in the background of a TikTok video, then you've got a potential revenue stream as a content house investor.
2. Invest in Hollywood-focused REITs. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) that deal in office space have certainly taken a hit during the pandemic, with so many working from home. But the show business sector is back at work, and those creative professionals need plenty of production space. That's why it's a good time to invest in REITs that focus on show business. One in particular is Hudson Pacific Properties (HPP 0.46%), a Los Angeles-based office and studio owner/operator with millions of square footage used as production and support space for TV, film, and digital production for both streaming and traditional releases; Netflix is their biggest tenant.
Hudson Pacific is poised to expand, not only in Hollywood, but in the global market. Last year, it joined forces with Blackstone Group, which now has a 49% interest in Hudson Pacific's studio platform that was valued at $1.65 billion. The joint venture is planning to expand studio space in Los Angeles and create a major production center in the U.K. Hudson Pacific also acquired Star Waggons and Zio Studio Services, two transportation and logistics companies serving the film and television industry.
3. Create a themed rental property. While a home that's been used as a location in a popular movie or TV series might attract more bookings, a property might need only tenuous connections to show biz for it to pay off as an investment. Case in point: The modest Oklahoma family home of the late Rue McClanahan of The Golden Girls fame was converted into a popular Airbnb, coveted as a themed getaway by many fans of the TV show.
But even if your property hasn't had a brush with stardom, you can still channel fandom through its design and decor. "The McFly" is an Airbnb listing in the Dallas area that has no actual connection to the Back to the Future trilogy, but it's got plenty of 1980s themed decor movie fans will love. The unit upstairs is called "The Slater," a healthy nod to the Saved by the Bell TV series, and features plenty of swag from the 1990s.
Lights, camera, and plenty of action for your investment portfolio
The people in front of the camera might garner all the attention and glamour, but there's a good deal to applaud behind the scenes if you're an investor. Whether you're ready for the spotlight to shine on your own property as a filming location, curate a themed rental to attract movie and TV fans, or allocate some of your portfolio to production-focused REITs, there's no business like investing in show business.