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LARKSPUR -- Digital Domain Productions, Inc., a digital effects and computer animation company led by former Industrial Light & Magic top executives, by the end of this year plans to open a Larkspur Landing office that could accommodate 47 employees.

Venice, Calif.-based Digital Domain, behind the effects of dozens of major movies since its 1993 founding, including the Transformers series, signed a three-year lease at the beginning of this month for 14,200 square feet on the second and third floors at Larkspur Landing Office Park, according to an Aug. 12 amended initial public stock offering prospectus filed by the parent company.

Digital Domain Productions is scheduled to move into 9,600 square feet on the second floor of Building 1100 in the high-profile office complex in November, according to the lease document attached to the filing. That space is allotted 31 parking spaces.

The following month, the company will occupy another 4,700 square feet on the third floor and has been allocated another 16 spaces.

Property manager Equity Office has obtained permits to add a number of electrical outlets on the second floor and enhance the power system for the building, according to city records.

Digital Domain officials declined to comment on the lease because the parent company, Port St. Lucie, Fla.-based parent company Digital Domain Media Group Inc., is in a regulatory quiet period pending the stock offering. It filed to go public in May and wants to raise $115 million to pay down debt.

Digital Domain Productions creates computer graphic effects and animation for movies and commercials from two large Southern California facilities as well as smaller studios in Florida, British Columbia and San Francisco. The company employed 23 in San Francisco and 890 companywide at the end of March, according to the securities filing.

Digital Domain Media Group has a new Florida studio planned. Last month, the company announced an agreement with India-based effects company Reliance MediaWorks for 650 employees in an office on the subcontinent and one in London.

Digital Domain Productions had a presence in San Rafael up to a couple of years ago, according to city business license records. The company  relocated to The Presidio in the city, where substantial George Lucas company operations moved from Marin in 2006. Digital Domain Productions Chief Executive Officer Cliff Plumer, chief technology officer of ILM until joining Digital Domain in 2006, oversaw the Lucas' Letterman Digital Arts Center project in The Presidio and that move.

Digital Domain's Presidio sublease for 10,000 square feet is set to expire at the end of this month, according to the amended prospectus.

The digital media industry is one of the seven new areas of business development focus for the 2-year-old Marin Economic Forum, according to its new board president, Mike Kadel of Bank of Marin.

"MEF is involved in recruiting companies like Digital Domain," he said.

The forum uses the information industry definition for these types of companies, which include motion-picture production via computer software, Internet content creation and digital cable TV broadcasting.

That industry peaked in Marin between 1998 and 2000 at 2 percent of all businesses and 4 percent of all jobs in 1998, according to Robert Eyler, a Sonoma State University economist analyzing the county's activity for the forum. But the sector started falling after the Lucas companies relocated in 2006. Last year, information companies accounted for 1.1 percent of Marin businesses and 1.2 percent of jobs.

"The operations are being attracted to Marin because Marin has a nucleus of startup activities, driven mainly by Silicon Valley ex-pats who remain entrepreneurial in this space," he said. "That is having a cluster effect and drawing some firms northward from the Bay Area ...."

Local business leaders have told Dr. Eyler that what keeps them in Marin is their home and close enough proximity to San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

"The challenge will be keeping the growing firms in Marin as they expand due to the lure of the aforementioned places in terms of financial and human capital to supply new tech firms," he said.

Two other major challenges Dr. Eyler has heard about are the ability to attract young talent interested in the attractions of a big city and being close to angel and venture capital sources.

"Marin Economic Forum is attempting to build a network for entrepreneurs in Marin County to make those connections here more explicit, as VC and angel communities live in Marin also, and to drive more businesses to stay in Marin rather than migrate," he said.

Whitney Strotz of Cassidy Turley BT Commercial represented Equity Office in the Larkspur lease. Aaron Wangenheim of Base Partners represented Digital Domain in the recent deal and the sublease in San Francisco.

The starting monthly base rent per square foot for Digital Domain's Larkspur space is $2.75, increasing to $2.92 by the third year.