Movie studio plan to be filed in coming month
Masque Studios Utah prepares to file plans with county
Gina Barker, The Park Record
Posted: 02/01/2013 04:33:40 PM MST
Within a month, the founder of Masque Studios Utah hopes to file with Summit County the plans for a $100 million movie studio in the Boyer Tech Park.
The process would begin with determining whether or not the studio plan meets the legal definition of the development agreement for the Kimball Junction space, a fact that has county officials and developers dusting off the original agreement from 2008.
The studio project, which has been in the works for more than a year, has prompted meetings with Founder Steve Perry and both local and state officials, including County Manager Bob Jasper and Gov. Gary Herbert.
“We are not doing anything at Masque Studios that has not been approved at the Boyer Tech Park property,” Perry said. “As long as we stay in the guidelines, the thinking is there will not be too much we have to alter, but we still want the county involved in the process.”
The development agreement, the part of the project that may potentially need to be altered depending on county recommendations and the interpretation of legal definitions, intended that the development create high-paying, technology-based jobs. Perry said the studio would create these jobs through sound, digital effects, 3D animation and motion capture studios. The project would also create training opportunities for locals with the intent to provide at-hand crews to film projects, from hair and makeup to lighting to set carpentry, Perry said.
“Our goal is that in five years, there will not be a film company around that will have to bring people in from out of state,” he added. “That’s going to bring business in.”
Despite the confidence among the project’s developers that the studio will fit within the prescribed legal definitions the studio is admittedly using a broad definition of the development agreement county officials remain unconvinced before any documentation is formally submitted.
“We first got a rough sense of the project eight or nine months ago,” Jasper said. ” They will have to go through a development agreement process for that property, figure out what they can or cannot do. My guess is we will probably have to consider amending the agreement.”
“The plans will have to go through the Planning Commission,” he added, “and from there they will make a recommendation to the County Council. Then the council will have to decide.”
County Council members are reserving their opinions on Masque Studios Utah until more specific plans come forward, outlining how technology-based the project is and whether or not it will fall within the guidelines in creating clean, high-paying jobs.
Roger Armstrong, a County Council member with legal experience in the entertainment industry including working with Universal Pictures and TriStar Pictures, said he would need to see the plans before making any determination, although his larger, and separate concern, was whether or not a movie studio is feasible in Summit County.
“I question whether a significant movie studio is viable,” Armstrong said. ” I have my doubts that a traditional movie studio, one with sound stages and the other typical components, would sign the amount of production in Utah that would sustain that.”
Fellow County Council Member Chris Robinson admitted that, at this point, his knowledge of the project was limited, that nothing has been filed and specifics remain undefined.
“It is too early to comment,” Robinson said. “I am not enough of a student of the Boyer Tech Park development agreement.”
“I will need to figure out what is legally doable,” he added. “I don’t want to pre-judge the project. They need to make a proposal, and we need to dust off the development agreement to see if it fits.”
New film studio in the works
Masque Studios Utah has sights set on Boyer Tech Park
Gina Barker, The Park Record
Posted: 01/22/2013 04:50:48 PM MST
A new film studio project has been proposed in Summit County, with initial talks underway and notifications sent out to county officials. The company Masque Studios Utah hopes to construct a $100 million facility in the Boyer Tech Park located in Kimball Junction.
The developer is proposing to take a majority of the allotted space in the tech park, with plans that include 25 buildings, roughly 500,000 square feet of space spread over 35 acres. As currently planned, the studio would include a large campus-like area, a state-of-the-art digital post-production facility, eight digital sound stages, a 350-seat fully digital 3D theater and a convention center, said Steve Perry, the founder of Masque Studios Utah. It would also create more than 1,000 construction jobs for locals and more than 2,000 jobs working on various films scheduled once the studio is completed, he added.
“I want to build a motion picture studio in the digital age that would be this organic hot bed of digital media awareness, a think tank, a place to build relationships,” Perry said. “I wanted this campus-vibe to the project.
“Microsoft , Apple and Nike, these are companies that have beautiful campuses for their employees, and that idea, all of that, is what I want to bring to the table.”
Perry has been in the film industry for more than three decades, working on projects such as the “Lethal Weapon” films as well as the Robert Redford classics such as “Ordinary People” and “A River Runs Through It.” Perry started Masque Studios Utah, to focus primarily on independent film projects, but said it would be capable of handling large scale digital green screen studio projects as well. The intent is to create a brick-and-mortar location that would support all aspects of the film-making process, from screen writing to directing to post-production, he said.
The Boyer Tech Park, a project that has already received county approval, was green lighted as a 50-acre development a total of 1,295,000 square feet of commercial development for office and research facilities that would create high-paying jobs in Summit County.
Four hundred acres of land surrounding the tech park was set aside as a preserve, an effort among county officials to limit the amount of construction along the entrance to Park City. In the provision establishing the preserve, the Boyer Construction Company was approved to build the tech park with set limits on what the 50-acre space could be used for: to create high-paying, sustainable jobs.
“Bringing higher paying jobs to the area is what I’ve been pushing for years,” said Jon Buetler, the Director of the Park City Business Resource Center, who has been involved in the studio project since the initial stages. ” Technology is the direction we need to move, very current. And this project captures that in a very exciting way.
“Early on, we’re going to create a lot of jobs for existing Summit county residents. As Masque looks at education, high school and middle school kids, we could be creating jobs well into the future.”
Since the 2008 approvals from the county, the corridor has already undergone dramatic changes, opening the first structure of the tech park last year, including the new Park City Chamber/Bureau Visitor Center, other mixed-use businesses and a planned apartment complex offering affordable housing.
“The question remains whether or not the use proposed by this studio falls into the defined uses of that space,” said Summit County Councilmember Claudia McMullin. “That definition was meant to be technology-based.”
“If the use is akin to what the studio is suggesting, more (technology-based) than a sound stage with actors, it sounds like it may fit (the intended use),” she added. “That’s just an initial take without having studied it in depth.”
McMullin was formally notified of the project late on Friday.
Originally, Perry intended to locate the studio in New Mexico but said he has been considering relocating to Park City for over a year. The shift away from New Mexico came after the governor of the state began to restructure state tax credits on film production. Perry started exploring potential properties along the Wasatch Front, but ultimately decided on Park City as the perfect place for the studio.
Masque also plans to include a large music component to the studio.
“We were very excited,” said the Boyer Tech Park Project Manager Dave Allen. “We think it was a good use of the property, a lot of the same upsides the tech park had, creating a good job base and tax base.”
“We’ve spent a lot of time on this project already,” Allen added. “We’ve spent time with county staff and concluded that the county will need to be involved in approving this specific use, but we feel like it achieves the same objectives. Perhaps it is not the original intent, but in terms of creating high-paying jobs, we think it fits well in the community and achieves the objectives.”
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