Miami heads to 10-year film studio lease
Written by Catherine Lackner on March 5, 2014
The City of Miami’s Omni Community Redevelopment Agency was to vote this week to lease its Miami Entertainment Complex at 50 NW 14th St. to EUE/Screen Gems Studios Ltd., which would then build out the facility and operate it.
Lease terms were still tentative at press time, but if ratified as drafted, the lease stipulates that EUE Screen Gems would pay $100,000 yearly on a 10-year lease and 11% of annual gross sales in excess of $750,000, and make a $125,000 security deposit. A renewal option could add 10 years.
Negotiations between EUE Screen Gems and the redevelopment agency had been ongoing since late last year, according to industry publication “Pre-Production and Filming on Location Guide.”
“We are eager to begin discussions on how we can add a location as diverse and as vibrant as this one to our production studio portfolio,” Chris Cooney, EUE Screen Gems’ chief operating officer and co-owner, told the publication in December. “Miami offers a seasoned film community and experienced crew. The locations here are like no other in the country, and the Hollywood community is very aware of the assets Florida offers.”
The Omni agency bought the 71,211-square-foot building, formerly the Miami Skills Center, in 2011 for $3.1 million from the Miami-Dade County Public Schools. It sat unused, other than the sale of 41,818 square feet to the Florida Department of Transportation, until local architectural firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners was brought aboard to envision how to use the space.
The original plan was to have two state-of-the art sound stages of 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, office space and facilities for digital imaging. The redevelopment agency said it wants about 70,000 square feet of studios, two fully operational sounds stages, a studio for digital imaging and animation, and 12,000 square feet of office and accessory space. The plan was to raise the ceilings to 50 feet to allow for a catwalk grid and lighting, and to upgrade electrical, plumbing, air conditioning and heating systems, as well as soundproofing and insulation.
It’s not known yet how EUE Screen Gems will build out the space. The company, based in New York City, operates film studios in Atlanta and in Wilmington, NC. Its LinkedIn page points out that Georgia offers a 30% film incentive, while North Carolina’s is 25%.
Drawn in part by well-funded, reliable Florida film incentives, movie and television producers brought shows to Miami-Dade and Broward counties beginning with “Burn Notice” in 2007. Eventually five major scripted television shows were being filmed in the area, including a short-lived revival of “Charlie’s Angels.”
Other than “Graceland,” those shows are finished. The Legislature did not fund new incentives last year, and the film industry and some legislators are now battling to restore a healthy incentive system.
“Burn Notice” had spent all of its seven seasons in the city’s 107,000-square-foot Coconut Grove Convention Center, which the city has now razed for parkland with the stated goal of shifting all film work to the Miami Entertainment Complex.