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Hollywood moguls

When you buy a Hollywood studio, you get the ghosts of entertainment past and present.

Los Angeles-based Hudson Capital, the owner of Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, has reportedly set its sights on the former Warner Bros Pictures studio, now called Tribune Studios. The parent, Tribune Company, is in the process of being sold to investor Sam Zell.

The value of the property is estimated at about $175 million, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. Located on Sunset Boulevard, the studio is home to television station KTLA-TV Channel 5, which occupies the Colonial-style mansion facing Sunset built by Warner Bros in 1919. Currently running television shows filmed at the Tribune production facilities include “Judge Judy,” “Judge Joe Brown” and “Hannah Montana.”

But to entertainment historians, the site has significant value. The first talking picture, or “talkie,” was born here in 1927 when Al Jolson recorded his first words in the landmark Warner Bros motion picture “The Jazz Singer.” Animation classics such as “Merrie Melodies” and “Loony Tunes” were also produced here.

There is room for expansion at the property, which includes about 10 soundstages. A possible deal may include additions such as film and television buildings and office space.

In the face of YouTube, Hudson Capital appears to be bullish on the future of filmed entertainment in Hollywood. In August, it acquired nearby Sunset Gower Studios, the former Columbia Pictures headquarters, for $200 million. Market observers are anxious to see how this story will end.

Tribune Studios: entertaining bids