Miami Agency May Sell Newly Purchased Film Complex
By Catherine Lackner
Just as Wynwood seems poised on the brink of becoming an entertainment hub — with "Rock of Ages" and "Charlie’s Angels" filmed there and talk of Queen Latifah coming to town — Miami’s Community Redevelopment Agency might reverse directions and put its flagship film facility back on the market.
Last year, the agency bought the 89,000-square-foot former Miami Skills Center at 29 NW 13th St. from the county’s public school system for $3.1 million and drew plans for the Miami Entertainment Complex, a mixed-use facility that would include two sound stages, editing suites, screening rooms, production offices and rooms for other production functions.
Miami’s Downtown Development Authority backed the move, as did many in the local entertainment community.
No renovations have actually been done yet, but the agency sold part of the parcel to the Florida Department of Transportation for slightly more than $1 million.
"We can still sell the Skills Center at a profit," Marc Sarnoff, Miami commissioner and director of the redevelopment agency, said at that group’s January meeting. "A lot of people have contacted us."
When the agency was investigating the studio project, "I don’t think there was a person in Miami we didn’t invite," Mr. Sarnoff said then. "We wanted to see if there was a private individual who would fund this. And we waited and waited. No private-sector person wanted to take the $10 million risk."
But now, it would appear that the private sector has taken an interest. New York investor Moishe Mana, who owns the large Wynwood Free Trade Zone parcel along Northwest Fifth Avenue, is interested in helping create a Miami Entertainment District, according to Tony Cho, his real estate broker.
Last month, the redevelopment agency voted to spend $215,000 to hire California-based Bastien & Associates Inc. to evaluate the would-be film facility and make recommendations. The firm’s clients have included Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Studios.
"It’s all about the pro forma," Mr. Sarnoff said last month. Depending on what renovations are needed, their cost and the feasibility of having the studio up and running a majority of the time, the agency will determine whether to go forward with the project or put the building back on the market.
"We have the best people in America looking at it," Mr. Sarnoff said, referring to Bastien & Associates. "We got a great deal, so we probably can’t lose money."To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e -Miami Today, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.