June 23, 2006 13:30 ET

LAIKA Inc. Enters Into Lease Agreement With Con-way for 60,000 Square Feet in Northwest Portland

Space Will House Production Operations for LAIKA Entertainment's CG-Animated Feature Film "Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure"

PORTLAND, OR -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 23, 2006 -- LAIKA Inc. today announced that it has entered into a lease agreement with Con-way, Inc. (NYSE: CNW) for roughly 60,000 square feet of space in the Leland James Center located at 1621 NW 21st Street in Northwest Portland.

The space will serve as the production facility for LAIKA's CG-animated feature film "Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure," which has a projected release date of 2009, and will house other technology and administrative functions related to the production of the feature.

The announcement follows this week's news that LAIKA Chairman of the Board Philip H. Knight had purchased 30 acres of land in Tualatin, 12 miles south of Portland, as the future site of the company's state-of-the-art animation campus, scheduled to open in 2008. With an expanding slate of film projects, LAIKA's employee count will increase by more than 400 over the next two years. Phase one of campus construction will include buildings dedicated to CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) animation; stop motion animation, and core corporate services including reception, executive offices, conference rooms, fitness center, cafeteria and theatre. Groundbreaking is planned for early 2007 and an architectural firm and construction company will be announced shortly.

"While our new LAIKA campus is being built we needed a suitable home in which to develop and produce 'Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure,'" said LAIKA President and CEO Dale Wahl. "Now we have a great space, two blocks from our current headquarters, where our talented artists and production crew can work their magic."

"It's been a pleasure working with the Con-way group in helping us meet our combined requirement of technical and office needs," said Toby Ethridge, LAIKA's Director of Administrative Services.

LAIKA was represented in the transaction by Gary P. Randles of Cushman and Wakefield; Con-way by Scott Madsen of Capacity Commercial Group.

"LAIKA is one of Portland's most interesting and fastest growing companies. We're pleased to welcome them to the Con-way Portland Campus," said Kevin C. Schick, Con-way senior vice president and CFO. "The Leland James Center is well suited for their needs and will serve as an excellent facility for their film production operations."

Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW) is a $ 4.2 billion freight transportation and logistics company with businesses in less-than-truckload and full truckload freight services, expedite, brokerage, logistics, warehousing, supply chain management and trailer manufacturing.

"Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure" is an original story idea from LAIKA Entertainment writer and director Jorgen Klubien, who lists "Cars," "The Lion King," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," "A Bug's Life," and "Nightmare Before Christmas" among his credits. The CG-animated family film is a tale of survival, brotherly love and grand adventure set in the animal kingdom.

According to Klubien, "Consolidating 'Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure' operations at one location has several benefits. Not only will it enhance our creative efforts, but will also streamline production by keeping our people together under one roof."

About LAIKA:

LAIKA is owned by Phil Knight, co-founder and Chairman of Nike. The company was rebranded as LAIKA in the summer of 2005, when it absorbed Vinton Studios, an animation leader and innovator for more than 30 years. LAIKA Entertainment currently has two animated feature films in production and was a production entity on the Academy Award™-nominated stop-motion animated film "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride." In addition to "Jack & Ben's Animated Adventure," LAIKA Entertainment is currently in production on "Coraline," based on the international bestselling children's novel by Neil Gaiman. The stop-motion animated film with CG effects is being adapted for the screen and directed by Henry Selick ("Nightmare Before Christmas," "James and the Giant Peach") with Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, and the comedy duo of French & Saunders leading the voice cast. Worldwide distribution will be handled by Focus Features. LAIKA also recently acquired the film rights to one of the UK's current bestselling children's novels, writer/illustrator Alan Snow's "Here Be Monsters," and will develop it as an animated feature film.

LAIKA/house, the commercial division of the company, produces animated commercials and shorts for global clients including Coca-Cola, Wrigleys, Samsung, ESPN and Esure UK. LAIKA/house will continue to operate at the company's current headquarters at 1400 NW 22nd Avenue in Portland.

Throughout its history, the company has won 11 CLIO Awards, three London International Advertising & Design Awards, five Mobius Advertising Awards, two Cannes Lion International Advertising Festival awards, two Academy Awards® out of five nominations, 11 Prime time Emmy Awards, and honors from the New York International Film & TV Festival, Annecy Awards, Annie Awards, and the World Animation Celebration Festival. For more information, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Maggie Begley
    Maggie Begley Communications
    cell: 310-749-3055
    Email Contact