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Former Howard Hughes Aviation Complex To Be Office, Production Space

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A developer has acquired a swath of land in Southern California that includes the site where Howard Hughes built his mammoth Spruce Goose transport seaplane in the 1940s and plans to turn it into an office and production space.

The Ratkovich Co., said Friday it had acquired the property, which spans more than 28 acres, for $32.4 million in a partnership with Penwood Real Estate Investment Management.

The property, located in a suburb of Los Angeles called Playa Vista, has 11 buildings with 537,130 square feet of space, including the massive airplane hangar where Hughes Aircraft built the wooden plane.

The buildings are vacant, except for the hangar, which has been used in recent years as a production soundstage for films such as “Avatar,” “Transformers,” “Titanic” and “The Aviator,” the 2004 film about Hughes starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ratkovich said it plans a $50 million renovation of the property that will tie the development into a single office campus catering to entertainment, media and technology companies.

The developer also plans to use solar and fuel cell technology with an eye to eventually making the buildings energy independent.

Once completed, the project will be called The Hercules Campus at Playa Vista.

“Inspired by the property’s rich history and the innovative influences of Howard Hughes, The Hercules Campus will become a keystone of creativity, modernism and boldness of thought in Los Angeles,” said Wayne Ratkovich, the company’s founder and president.

The company expects the property will be ready for tenants by July next year and complete by January 2012.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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