By Scott Van Voorhis
August 7, 2008
Welcome to Southie-wood.
Developer Tim Pappas is floating plans to build an L.A.-style movie production complex on a vacant lot he owns at the corner of West First and E streets, according to state Rep. Brian Wallace (D-South Boston), who was briefed on the proposal.
Pappas, who has dabbled in movie making himself even as he rolls out upscale Southie condo projects, is looking to cash in on the Hub’s new reputuation as a mecca for Hollywood filmmakers.
Massachusetts became a top filming destination after the passage of a bill that provides millions in tax credits for productions that shoot locally.
However, the current boom is limited by the state’s lack of movie production facilities, forcing movie crews and producers to fly back to L.A. after a few weeks or months.
“We highly encourage the cultivation of infrastructure, because that will solidify our position as a leader in film production,” said Rich Krezwick, managing director of the Massachusetts Sports & Entertainment Commission.
The Southie developer’s push comes as two other would-be studio complexes make pitches.
A former top Paramount executive is crafting plans for a massive “Hollywood East” film complex in Plymouth.
Meanwhile, a group of movie industry veterans has proposed building a $300 million complex in South Weymouth, but is now re-evaluating its plans after a hoped-for tax-credit bill fell through on Beacon Hill.
Pappas, by contrast, plans to start off small, with one or two sound stages, with the option to expand if the market demand is there, Wallace reports.
Pappas could not be reached.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who was briefed on the plan, had encouraging words. “He thinks the idea could be viable,” said Dot Joyce, adding the mayor urged Pappas to take his plans to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.