Omni CRA selects wining proposal for movie studio

The Miami Omni C o m m u n i t y Redevelopment Agency’s board of directors voted unanimously, Dec. 9, to begin negotiations with the top ranked proposer, EUE/Screen Gems, for the development and operation of the Miami Entertainment Complex (MEC), a movie studio and related facilities.

In September, the Miami Omni CRA announced it was seeking proposals from qualified bidders to design, build, operate and manage a major film and television studio located at 50 NW 14th St. in Miami’s Media and Entertainment District, just west of the Arsht Performing Arts Center.

“Today we are a step closer to the creation of a state-of-the-art mixed-use studio that will benefit our local and regional community including: millions of dollars annually in positive economic impact, the creation of hundreds of jobs, and the revitalization of the Omni District,” said Miami Omni CRA chair Marc D. Sarnoff.”

“Through this partnership, we will create the infrastructure needed to reignite the film industry in South Florida. As more productions see that Miami is serious about attracting the industry and that it has the facilities to accommodate major projects, the industry as a whole will be enhanced across the board,” said Sarnoff.

EUE/Screen Gems owns and operates film and television production facilities in New York City; Atlanta, and Wilmington, NC. The Wilmington studio is the largest production studio in the United States outside of California, with 10 sound stages that encompass more than 150,000 square feet. Since 1985, more than 350 film, television and commercial projects have been shot at the Wilmington studio. Most recently it was the location for the filming of, Iron Man 3, and The Conjuring. Their Atlanta studio complex offers 10 stages with 138,000 square feet of production and flex space. It has hosted more than 20 scripted television shows and feature films since opening in 2010.

“From the proposals that were submitted, EUE/Screen Gems demonstrated the most experience in all facets of design/build and studio operation as outlined in the Request for Proposals,” said Pieter A. Bockweg, executive director of the Miami Omni CRA.

“With decades of production experience, their team has extensive experience in Miami and throughout Florida. Negotiations will begin immediately,” he added.

“The Cooney Family and EUE/Screen Gems has a 50-year history of developing smart collaborations in evolving business climates,” say Chris Cooney, COO and the co-owner of the EUE/Screen Gems. “We are so pleased to begin this journey with the Miami Omni CRA to bring a significant studio production facility to Miami. We are eager to begin discussions on how we can add a location as diverse and as vibrant as this one to our production studio portfolio.

“Miami offers a seasoned film community and experienced crew. The locations here are like no other in the country, and the Hollywood community is very aware of the assets Florida offers. We are grateful to the CRAboard of directors for their vote of confidence, and we would be pleased to operate a studio facility here on behalf of the Omni CRA. We look forward to negotiating with this team and bringing film industry jobs and infrastructure to the city of Miami.”

The South Florida-based design/build team includes: the architectural team from AECOM’s Coral Gables office, along with the surveying team of J. Bonfill & Associates, the Miami engineering firm of Kaderabek Company (KACO) and Fort Lauderdalebased Facchina Construction of Florida.

The design criteria for the MEC are intended to serve major movies, television series and independent filmmakers.

“With 50-foot ceiling heights, approximately 70,000 square feet of studio space including two fully operational film sound stages of 10,000-12,000 square feet, a motion capture studio designed for digital imaging, 3-D animation and gaming, editing suites, screening rooms and 12,000 square feet of office and accessory rooms, we will be able to accommodate a wide variety of productions,” Bockweg said.

Once negotiations are complete and the final contract award is made, the Miami Omni CRA, which owns the land and existing structure, will reimburse EUE/Screen Gems up to $10.5 million in development costs.

In recent years, the State of Florida has invested more than $240 million in incentives for the film industry.

“We will actively seek support from the Florida Legislature to continue funding the tax incentive programs, which attract and retain the entertainment industry,” Bockweg said.

As part of the overall redevelopment of the Media and Entertainment District, the Miami Omni CRA is near completion of a $6 million reconstruction of NE 14th Street from NE Second Avenue to NW First Avenue, providing streetscape enhancements that connect the Performing Arts Center with the Media and Entertainment District. These improvements include new wider sidewalks, decorative pavement, new curb and gutter and a 12-inch water main upgrade to help promote and attract future development along the corridor.

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