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Front Page » Filming » County flyspecks lease for big film studio

County flyspecks lease for big film studio

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Written by on December 29, 2015

County flyspecks lease for big film studio

“There’s no news, which is probably good news,” on negotiations for a mammoth studio complex comprising 11 sound stages and 4 million cubic feet of water in 10 giant tanks, said Rodolfo Paiz, a principal of Miami Ocean Studios LLC. His company is in lease negotiations for 160 acres of county-owned land at 20000 NW 47th Ave. The project was launched nearly a year ago.

“As a private citizen, I’m very happy with how the county has handled its due diligence,” he added. “The county’s representatives are being very thorough, and both sides are trying to create a deal that is sound, healthy, and will hold up to any kind of scrutiny. It’s taking time, but that’s because everyone is doing his job.

“We have moved beyond the conceptual stage into the language of the actual lease,” he said in August, and that’s still the case. “This is a very large piece of land, so the county, understandably, is moving cautiously. In general, things are going well,” he said then.

Once the lease is signed, he said, his company will begin $30 million in infrastructure improvements, including roads and sewers. Some reimbursement, he said, might be available from general obligation bonds for economic development.

The parcel lies in an unincorporated area known as County Club of Miami, between the Palmetto Expressway and the Florida Turnpike, near the Miami-Dade/Broward county line and north of Opa-locka Executive Airport. The state transportation department has plans to widen Northwest 47th Avenue next year, which is a key advantage of the site.

Once the infrastructure is in, construction will commerce and will take roughly two years, Mr. Paiz said when the deal was announced in January 2015. The sound stages, the largest of which is 24,000 square feet, will have ceiling heights of 33 to 45 feet to accommodate lighting and electrical needs. The studios also have to be able to withstand a category 5 hurricane, he added at that time.

“If you figure the kind of structure that is that big, with no column in the middle, that’s a huge block of clear space,” he said. “All of this stuff needs to be well-engineered. Fortunately, the process of knowing how to do it is already out there.”

Water features are to include a canal that is 100 feet wide and 3,000 feet long, one water tank that is 300 by 200 feet square, and one that is 30 feet deep, he said.

“One of things Miami has going for it is water, but it can be inconvenient and unsafe to shoot in open water, so we’ve designed these tanks,” Mr. Paiz has said. “This is a complete package; it will have few competitors worldwide.”

Mr. Paiz, a third-generation member of a Guatemalan family that has historically specialized in retail, has said his company ran a number of scenarios before committing to the studio project. He has estimated that the project will add about 3,100 direct jobs during construction and 2,700 high-paying positions for film crews and others who work in the complex once it is open. A hotel is also planned for the property, he added, to probably be run by a concessionaire.

When the project was announced, Mr. Paiz said he hopes Miami Ocean Studios will also become a business accelerator.

“In a place like Miami, you always have start-ups,” he said earlier this year. “We will be looking for people who are doing cool things that are applicable to recording, and might take a portion of equity in their companies. We hope folks who are trying new things and looking for resources will find us.”

10 Responses to County flyspecks lease for big film studio

  1. DC Copeland

    December 30, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I wish Mr. Paiz the best because he is going to need it. I hope after he builds it, they will come. From all over the world. But unless the state reinstates its film and TV tax incentives, it is very unlikely since studios like his already exist all over the world, including Wilmington, NC which has soundstages rivaling Hollywood’s. Hopefully part of his business model includes free office space and hotel suites for Hollywood’s major players.

    • That Sound Guy

      January 7, 2016 at 2:01 am

      Nothing domestically outside of New York and possibly Pinewood in Georgia rival Hollywood sound stages. The physical size may be there but the solid build and capability is sincerely lacking in most stages. As a person who normally works in them (but do not live full time in GA, FL, CA or NY) I am scared for this incentive based economy that I depend on for a living. Eventually they all run out and in a state (Florida) that does not have interest at the state level, not much is going to happen. Florida has primarily been a destination location (when we need beaches, the ocean, swamps, the deco style, etc.) that is hard to do cheaply elsewhere we shoot in Florida. Increased incentive will bring Hollywood back more often but the bulk will go to the highest incentive bidder for the moment and continue in LA or NY due to logistics, financing, crews, locations, post facilities, etc. The unmentioned factor is the kids and grandkids of those who built this business do not live in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, etc. The live in NY or LA and we are the colonies. That said, lets face it Southern California is beautiful with low humidity and very few rained out days with top tier crews, and the talent and investors living down the road; that is tough to beat. And well NY is NY, one of a kind and hard to replicate. I love Miami and Florida overal, own property there, have worked tons of large and small scale projects all over the Florida coastline, but the state leadership (which can change) and the weather (cannot change) make it tough to do business sometimes. Not to count the BS that is normal experienced at a county or city level especially as you go south.

      I hope for the best with Florida. With Cuba opening up and the increasing Latin American interest in production I am sure it won’t hurt, but if you think is will really put a dent in the Georgia juggernaut (that killed NC and is about to kill NOLA) it will be really surprising.

  2. Jose Pepe Cancio

    December 31, 2015 at 10:10 am

    The Miami Ocean Studios, look that will be a great future project and business, for employments needs in the NW community, and I know that our County Commissioner Barbara Jordan is trying very hard to bring business that make sense in her district, my biggest concern is that His House Children’s Home, that is located in the same parcel do not loss any of his leased facilities.

    Jose Pepe Cancio
    Former Miami Dade County Commissioner District 12
    Supporter of this great not for profit organization

  3. Eduardo Valdes

    January 1, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Everybody is taking about film incentives.the bottom line is when you have investors spending millions of dollars on the infrastructure of the film industry in Florida specially in south Florida.Watch out Georgia!!! Here comes Florida

    • That Sound Guy

      January 7, 2016 at 2:06 am

      They have quite literally invest BILLIONS into the GA film economy. People spend MILLIONS everyday and still fail. Money is not the issue by itself, it is a concerted effort/support at all levels AND money. Georgia will spend more on productions in Q1 or Q2 than Florida will in 5 years.

  4. Alicia Carreno

    January 7, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Wow! Myself and Diana S Rice, founders of RAHAB Productions is so excited to see something like this come to life. We at RAHAB believe that the south Florida film/entertainment industry will have a revolution and this project is a marker of what’s to unfold.

  5. Marc Macaulay

    January 7, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Everyone is talking about film incentives because without one no one will come. Just look at the huge soundstage/studio in West Palm Beach that was built 20 years ago. That soundstage sits virtually empty most of the year. No incentive no work. Just because you build a production studio don’t be fooled into thinking it will see much usage. Screen Gems studios in Wilmington, NC sat empty most of last year. Ask North Carolina what happened when they pulled their incentive……

  6. Jeff Goldblum

    January 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Who has ever used the word flyspeck before?

    • Janet Rabner Lewis

      January 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Yeah, I thought that was something you might find on your window!

  7. Doug Bruce

    January 8, 2016 at 8:43 am

    It’s amazing that people still cling to the belief that a sound stage will bring production. In this present time only one thing brings production…incentives. I am currently in Georgia and the tax program has created a feeding frenzy. Get yourselves a new governor and some intelligent legislators and bring back the incentives.
    Anything else is flimsy window dressing.

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