Beverly Hills' Fine Arts Theater for Sale at $4 Million (Exclusive)

3:50 PM PST 05/22/2012 by Daniel Miller

The historic movie house, which opened in 1937, is owned by Indian conglomerate Spice Global, which had planned to show Bollywood films there.

The Beverly Hills Fine Arts Theater has been put up for sale by Indian conglomerate Spice Global for $4 million.

The 6,862-square-foot property was long known as the Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Theatre until Cecchi Gori USA Inc. sold it in September 2010 to the finance, entertainment and telecommunications conglomerate. The movie theater has been closed since the sale.

Spice Global, which maintains its headquarters in Singapore, had planned to convert the 430-seat theater at 8554 and 8556 Wilshire Blvd. into an art house that would show Bollywood films, but those plans never came to fruition, said Brian Dunne of commercial real estate brokerage NAI Capital, who has the listing.

"Right now they are saying, 'We would be open to selling the property or to find a joint venture [partner] to keep the movie operation going,'" said Dunne, adding that the listing of the property is part of Spice Global's decision to divest of its stateside assets.

He said that Spice Global had a plan to convert the single-screen theater into a triplex and had presented its designs to the city of Beverly Hills. That project does not have formal approval from the Beverly Hills City Council. Dunne said that Spice Global could partner with a prospective buyer on executing the conversion of the property to a triplex.

"They want to support this theater and keep it going -- that’s why for the right joint venture partner they would work with them. Everybody who loves films wants to keep it open."

The theater opened in 1937 with screenings of That Girl From Paris, Black Legion and a newsreel and cartoon, according to CinemaTreasures.org. Located on the south side of Wilshire one and half blocks west of La Cienega Boulevard, it was originally known as the Wilshire Regina Theatre. Cecchi Gori USA, the Los Angeles-based U.S. arm of Italian film production company Cecchi Gori Pictures, had acquired the property in 1993.

Dunne said that interested parties include "logical theater operators," but he declined to name them.

Email: Daniel.Miller@THR.com

Twitter: @DanielNMiller

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