Film studio to open in 17 months
As anticipated, directors of Miami’s Omni Community Redevelopment Agency voted unanimously last week to lease the agency’s Miami Entertainment Complex at 50 NW 14th St. to EUE/Screen Gems Studios, which will build out the facility and operate it. The company, based in New York City, operates film studios in Atlanta and in Wilmington, NC.
EUE/Screen Gems Studios will lease the building for 10 years with an option to renew for nine more, paying $100,000 per year and 11% of gross sales in excess of $750,000, and will make a $125,000 security deposit.
There will be two film sound stages of 15,000 square feet each, said Pieter Bockweg, the agency’s executive director, who led the negotiating team. About 12,000 square feet of office, post-production and storage space is also planned.
The complex should be up and running by August 2015, he added. The agency will reimburse EUE/Screen Gems up to $11.5 million in development costs.
The City of Miami has traditionally looked at short-term gains,” Mr. Bockweg said. “This is a long-term lease of 19 years, and a long-term partnership with this community.”
“We are happy to take on this project with the city, and we’re used to long-term deals,” said Chris Cooney, EUE Screen Gems chief operating officer. “The public/private partnership we did in Atlanta took a distraught area and turned it around. This was an area that had had no attention paid to it, and now there’s a cloud of economic activity there.”
According to industry publication “Location Guide,” negotiations between EUE Screen Gems and the redevelopment agency have going on since late last year.
“Miami offers a seasoned film community and experienced crew,” Mr. Cooney said at the time. “The locations here are like no other in the country, and the Hollywood community is very aware of the assets Florida offers.
”Miami is so unique, it fits readily into our production portfolio,” he said last week. “All of Latin America wants to come here. India and China want to do business here, as well as countries in Europe, including Turkey and Spain.”
EUE/Screen Gems’ Wilmington studio is the largest production studio in the US east of California, with 10 sound stages comprising more than 150,000 square feet, according to a redevelopment agency release. Since 1985, more than 350 film, television and commercial projects have been shot there.
The Atlanta studio complex contains 10 stages in 138,000 square feet of production and flex space. It has hosted more than 20 scripted television shows and feature films since it opened in 2010.
The Omni agency bought the 71,211-square-foot building that will become the Miami Entertainment Center in 2011 for $3.1 million. 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 on board 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. A surviving element of that plan will raise the ceilings to 50 feet to allow for a catwalk grid and lighting, and to upgrade the electrical, plumbing, air conditioning and heating, as well as sound-proofing and insulation.
Drawn in part by a well-funded and reliable film incentives program in Florida, movie and television producers brought their 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 the short-lived revival of “Charlie’s Angels.”
Other than “Graceland,” all of those shows are finished. The Florida Legislature did not fund any new incentives last year, and the film industry and some legislators are now battling to have a healthy incentive system restored.
“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.