May 5 2009 12:00 AM
City Center Studios

Status: Looking for a tenant This project was announced shortly This development, which Mayor Virg after the state created the most gener- Bernero said “could put Lansing, Mich., ous tax incentives for film and television in the center of the national film indus- production in the country. Gillespie and try,” would build a movie studio on that Aphtic wanted to take advantage of that chunk of land north of Shiawassee Street and bring a tenant to its studios. But, that between Cedar and Larch streets. A joint tenant still remains to be found.

venture between Lansing’s Aphtic Film Still, there’s a trick to that. Matt and Digital and the Gillespie Group, the Martyn, an executive producer with $10 million project would build a 71,000- Aphtic, says that a tenant won’t come to square-foot production space, including the studios until it’s built. So, the proj- two 24,000-square-foot sound stages. ect needs to find an investor to build the studio before a film company will locate there.

“We’ve met with all the major film studios out west,” Martyn said. “But building and financing a studio like that with this current market presents challenges.”

It’s a chicken and egg problem: the studios want the space ready for them to move into, but the investors want a studio signed on and ready to go. On top of that, Martyn said, rumblings among elected officials to cap the state tax incentives for productions does not boost Hollywood’s confidence in making a permanent commitment to Michigan.

“If we’re looking for a serious commitment, (the movie studios) want a serious commitment from the state,” he said. Pat Gillespie, president of the Gillespie Group, says that studios are out looking for space, but for this project, it’s a matter of finding a permanent tenant.

“With a one-movie commitment, it doesn’t make sense to build a studio. We’re still working on it, but we have to find an end user,” he said.

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