Fort Smith planned $ 30 million movie studio



FORT SMITH – A feature film production location could arrive in the River Valley.

Trustees of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority on Thursday unanimously approved the sale of 20 acres and four buildings to Los Angeles-based TGE Global Entertainment to develop a $ 30 million film production studio in the region. Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith, the authority’s marketing director Lorie Robertson said on Friday.

J. Michael Smith, chief financial officer of TGE, said in a press release that the potential facility, which is expected to be called TGE Spark Studios, will be the only one of its kind within a 550-mile radius and could generate around $ 32 million. dollars per year in economic impact in the community of Fort Smith. However, he noted that this is a preliminary estimate before final screenings.

“The economic purpose of a studio like Spark Studios is not just to host our projects, but the projects of other production companies wishing to shoot in Arkansas,” Smith said.

The potential studio is expected to create 100 to 150 direct jobs, according to the press release. Smith said the production teams involved in making films have as much of an impact on tourism as they do on job creation.

“When films come into a community to bring in productions, the Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the production will spend an average of $ 250,000 per day, with a salary 53% higher than the national average,” Smith said.

Feature film productions often have 200 to 250 people on set, many of whom need local accommodation or long-term hotel rooms, the statement said. Additionally, Smith said advanced crews show up anywhere from a few weeks to months before a production begins shooting.

Daniel Mann, executive director and chief executive officer of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, said on Friday that the potential studio brings an exciting and encouraging new kind of development to the River Valley region. Chaffee Crossing is already home to the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, which focuses on the areas of health and wellness, as well as science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math.

“They’re a good anchor, and the growth they’ve seen over the past five years is just exponential,” Mann said. “And so that’s another hub for that, for supporting the arts, for supporting creative thinkers and really building that ecosystem.”

Terisa Riley, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and a member of the Redevelopment Authority board, said one of the reasons she thinks the idea of ​​creating a dedicated space to film and television production services is exciting is that it could allow college graduates to get jobs. They might also be able to use this space.

“The simple relationship our students have with gaining hands-on, real-world experience on these sets is just an exceptional opportunity for them, and a great portfolio builder as you can imagine when they go into the industry. world and want to make it similar work, ”said Riley.

The facility is expected to be 92,000 square feet with 45,000 square feet of movie and television studio space, according to the press release. This will mainly consist of new construction on land bordered by Wintergreen and Mahogany avenues in the southeast sector of Chaffee Crossing. It would include six film sets, offices for film production teams, a projection room, editing rooms, a cafeteria and a backyard space for controlled outdoor filming. Concept plans also include an amphitheater and event space for public gatherings.

Eight thousand square feet of film production offices would be created on Mahogany Avenue northwest of the production studio through the restoration of four former Fort Chaffee officer quarters off Liberty Street, the statement said.

Ask for a price

The sale of 20 acres and four buildings to TGE Global Entertainment was approved with an asking price of $ 899,000.

Source: Lorie Robertson, Marketing Director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority

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