Miami Omni CRA board okays contract to build movie studio

Miami Omni CRA board okays contract to build movie studio

Rendering of Miami Entertainment Complex (MEC), a movie studio and related facilities


The Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency’s board of commissioners voted unanimously on Mar. 18 to approve a contract with EUE/Screen Gems Studios, for the development and operation of the Miami Entertainment Complex (MEC), a movie studio and related facilities.

In November 2013, the Miami Omni CRA announced that EUE/Screen Gems Studios had been selected as the top-ranked bidder to design, build, operate and manage the major film and television studio, which will be located at 50 NW 14 St. in Miami’s Media and Entertainment District, just west of the Arsht Performing Arts Center. The MEC will serve major movies, television series and independent filmmakers.

“Today we are securing Miami as one of the top destinations for film production in the Southeast,” said Miami Omni CRA chair Marc D. Sarnoff. “The creation of this mixeduse studio is a major step forward in revitalizing the film industry in Miami and the Omni District.

“This studio will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars locally and regionally. As more productions see that Miami is serious about attracting the industry and that it has state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate major projects, the industry will be enhanced across the board,” Sarnoff added.

“The final contract took approximately three months to negotiate, and the project has been put on a 14- to 16-month fast-track construction schedule,” explained Pieter A. Bockweg, executive director of the Miami Omni CRA. “The Miami Omni CRA, which owns the land and existing structure, will reimburse EUE/Screen Gems Studios up to $11.5 million in development costs. This agreement was negotiated with the intent of creating a long-term public private partnership.”

Once operational, EUE/Screen Gems Studios will lease the MEC for 10 years with an option to renew for nine years. The annual lease payment will be $100,000 plus an 11 percent gross revenue share.

“In addition to being a revenue generator for the OMNI CRA and the City of Miami, this facility will be a focal point for providing invaluable experience for our community’s up and coming talent in the entertainment industry, as EUE/Screen Gems Studios has committed to partnering with local educational institutions to create a student intern program,” Bockweg added.

In recent years, the State of Florida has invested more than $240 million in incentives for the film industry, and the Omni CRA will actively seek support from the Florida Legislature to continue funding the tax incentive programs, which attract and retain the entertainment industry.

“EUE/Screen Gems Studios has decades of experience in studio operations,” Bockweg said.

EUE/Screen Gems Studios 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.

The 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.

“The Cooney Family and EUE/Screen Gems Studios have a 50-year history of developing smart collaborations in evolving business climates,” said Chris Cooney, COO and the co-owner of the EUE/Screen Gems Studios. “We are excited and are looking forward to starting construction on the studio.”

With 50-foot ceiling heights, the MEC will provide production crews with approximately 70,000 square feet of studio space including two fully operational film sound stages of 15,000 square feet, and 12,000 square feet of office, editing suites, and accessory rooms to accommodate a wide variety of productions.

“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 CRA Board of Directors for their vote of confidence,” Cooney said.

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 Lauderdale based Facchina Construction of Florida.

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 Second Avenue to 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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