Miami Entertainment Complex Rife With Doubts of Financial Feasibilty

Categories: Film and TV

miami_entertainment_center.jpg
Photo via Hollywood Reporter
On March 5, the Miami film community rejoiced at the announcement that the Miami Community Redevelopment Agency, headed by chairman Marc Sarnoff, is set to invest $11.5 million of taxpayer money to transform the downtown school board skills center into the new 70,000-square-foot Miami Entertainment Complex (MEC). MEC, to be located at 50 NW 14th Street, is the city's latest attempt to bring major motion pictures to the Magic City, responding to filmmakers' supposed complaints that there isn't a proper sound stage in Miami.

It was announced in November that EUE/Screen Gems Studios would run the operations of the facility and had already signed a ten-year, $100,000-per-year lease, which also includes an 11 percent revenue share with the City of Miami, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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"[Miami] is lacking proper facilities for contemporary shows you see on television and in theaters," EUE/Screen Gems Studios COO Chris Cooney told Cultist in a phone interview.

"To do these big films, you need some big-span space," Cooney added. "[Filmmakers] need a lot of green screen space. You look at Gravity -- it's the perfect example. They were catapulting through space; you can't have 18-foot ceilings. That's the problem in South Florida."

EUE/Screen Gems Studios, which has ten sound stages in Wilmington and nine in Atlanta, will add an additional two to its roster with the MEC location.

Unfortunately, there are still many underlying issues with the property itself. Before it was purchased by the CRA for $3.1 million in 2010, the Miami film community raised some pressing questions that have yet to be answered.

In a White Paper report by Maria Chavez of the Florida Film Production Coalition from September 2010, which we obtained thanks to Al Crespo of the Crespogram Report, Chavez outlines reasons the site of the new MEC would be a poor selection for a sound stage:

  • The ceiling height is 18 feet to ceiling. "[It] creates serious limitations. The ideal is 35 feet for multiuse purposes."
  • Columns that are "20 feet width and length 40 feet apart" would need to be removed for larger productions.
  • Sound issues due to "railroad tracks directly parallel to west side of the building, 395-project construction, road noise from street traffic and 395 Expressway."
  • Major issues with parking.

Even worse is her recommendation of the entire space itself:

"If the City of Miami's vision is indeed to be a world-class film production hub, on the world stage as a destination for filmmakers, a key, integral requirement is to have solid infrastructure that offers a Sound Stage Complex that is state of the art. The Miami Skill Center does not have the key elements to be or compare to a quality sound stage facility in Miami."

She added:

"The industry doesn't need another substandard space to substitute for a real sound stage, which unfortunately is what the Skills Center would be, even with some retrofit."


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31 comments
Hazie Almendares
Hazie Almendares

It's been done before and that studio was shut down. Eons ago.

Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Oh Plz, this is a 30 yr old pipe dream and this is yet another scam. Give us a break already, every scumbag dreamer has tried this nonsense before , nothing has ever come to anything. Let it go already!

Eddy Earthtone Blak
Eddy Earthtone Blak

Jo Braga. You take the cake for the most ignorant statement of 2014 and its only MARCH.. It's obvious you are naive to what your tax $ actually goes to, if you knew the truth you wouldn't be able to sleep. God forbid your taxes would actually go to something good like art.

Eddy Earthtone Blak
Eddy Earthtone Blak

This city can build a giant state of the art baseball stadium that nobody goes to or even gives a shit about but they can't even build an entertainment complex? I guess a little creative and inspiring stimulation is asking too much in this posh materialistic cog of a city..

localcrewmia
localcrewmia

Plain and simple yes Miami COULD use such a place BUT ONLY if done right and this is sooooo far from right it makes NO SENCE.. I have worked in the industry for years and 18' ceilings will never work for a major Hollywood production.. yeah maybe as a post facility but then you run into the location issues of parking and being in path of arriving aircraft.. there are much better areas of town that could be used and yes the many studios out there that should get the work but don't because of greedy politicians and lets face it productions do not come here for studio space unless it is backup for mother nature they come here for locations they come here because of movies like Bad Boys that want our geography.. This will never work.  

Cary Gonzalez
Cary Gonzalez

Tell it to the folks who spent their asses on Magic City and they got canned after two seasons....

Chris Anthony
Chris Anthony

the lack of ethics, education and professionalism... combined with laziness, drugs and alcohol is what keeps killing the projects we already had, and why it would never last

Vince Witty
Vince Witty

Nobody is smart enough down here. They all went to california

Eddie Leon
Eddie Leon

Yes, of course if it's managed correctly. The facility can also be used by local photography and animation companies.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

WoooHoooo

More Cronyism 

 

theo333
theo333

As a production professional in Miami for 22 years now, I have a few thoughts. There's no parking and the ceilings are too low. Where will they park production vehicles, caterers, grip, prop, and talent vehicles? What about the studio owners that have stuck it out all,these years in empty studios? They deserve some relief, especially after politicians gave Burn Notice a free studio for years, screwing local studio owners. This is just another scam on the taxpayers. Screen gems, crooked politicians, and the Latin Builders association are the only real winners here. Without incentives like tax credits, no one will come. What a joke.

sashaproduction
sashaproduction

How about they work on getting us incentives, the one thing that really draws producers? Studios have no problem building out their own PRACTICAL spaces. This space w/ 18' ceilings and no parking is not practical. The fact that Screen Gems believes it is a feasible space is what scares me...we already know Sarnoff is incompetent in such matters.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.........................great idea that's about FIFTY (50) years late

jACKSONVILLE was the nations MOVIE capitol UNTIL the LA area became the magnet drawing all the attention with varied geography accomodating environment

and cheap large tracts of LAND for the movie producers

anything the existing MIAMI leadership plans by itself is DOOMed

MIAMI simply does not have the HONEST smart VISIONARY leadership and this project like ALL OTHER projects down here will become a magnet for corruption and fraud

MIAMI can't run an AIRPORT let alone successfully launch a new industry

its a wonder MIAMI hasn't screwed up the CRUISE industry here yet with its greed and corruption and outright fraud

Michael Landsberg
Michael Landsberg

Feature Films are one of Americas top Exports. So Important for our evolving city! Miami can become a larger fish in the market with such a facility. Truthfully, we could use more than one. That tied In with FL film incentives will bring many shows here. Generate a ton of money. Period.

Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Just as I predicted in earlier posts, this is the latest LAME attempt to make Miami into a 'production hub" with taxpayer money. All such attempts have failed for the last 30 years. This one will never get off the ground either, but only after a few million dollars of taxpayer money have been wasted , grafted, granted or outright STOLEN by our politicians and their supposed constituents. Sooner will fish fly than this idiocy gets off the ground.

Karen Kafin
Karen Kafin

No I really need more info to justify ANOTHER entertainment complex

Dan Marino
Dan Marino

If it actually gets used, they create good jobs and the city/county doesn't give away the farm with tax incentives, it should.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.......................Michael, haven't you noticed all the crooks we have in MIAMI ?

MIAMI can't run an AIRPORT

the $562,ooo,ooo baseball stadium destroyed an entrie neighborhood

MIAMI schools suck

half of the MIAMI economy is DRUG related

the judges, police and politicians are all CORRUPT and DISHONEST

MIAMI is the nation's capitol for MEDICAID FRAUD

MIAmi IS a MOVIE = a very very BAD movie = period

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................................exactly !

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

What if a private company that wants to build a studio?  

So much for the free market huh?



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