Great race heats up for Mass. movie Hub

By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald
June 4, 2008

Boston is now in the running to become the headquarters of Hollywood East.

A local developer who owns land on South Boston’s waterfront is drawing up plans for a movie production complex, state Rep. Brian Wallace (D-South Boston) said yesterday.

Wallace declined to name the builder, who he said has been in contact with executives in Hollywood about the plans. The project calls for a pair of large sound stages, with the option for future expansion.

The would-be Hub studio developer and his partners join a heated race that already features two competing movie and film studio projects, a $300 million proposal in South Weymouth and a $500 million plan in Plymouth.

The lure of millions in state tax credits has already made the Boston area a hotbed for West Coast movie productions. But industry promoters say a studio complex is needed to create a permanent, year-round entertainment sector.

“It would be a better location, but a smaller venue,” said Wallace, referring to the Southie plan. “There would a niche for all three.”

The new proposal emerges as competing plans in Plymouth and South Weymouth face their own challenges.

Plymouth Rock Studios is now on the hunt for a new site, while in South Weymouth, a group of movie business veterans says the future of their proposal depends on a state bill that would provide tens of millions in tax credits.

A Boston-area studio complex would have a big geographic advantage, closer to the many films that have staked out different parts of the city.

Nicholas Paleologos, executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office, said the Boston studio proposal, if it can get off the ground, won’t have a problem booking business.

“If there were a couple of sound stages in the Boston area, they would be booked all the time,” he said.

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