By Tamara Race
The Patriot Ledger
October 08, 2008
PLYMOUTH — Thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue and few demands on town services. That’s what Plymouth’s financial consultants say the town can expect from the proposed Plymouth Rock Studios project.
Town officials now have to decide how much to give up in a property tax break to secure state funding for infrastructure improvements. Town meeting must approve a property tax break for the studio project to make it eligible for the state infrastructure funding. The property tax break also qualifies the studio for a 5 percent income tax credit.
Plymouth Rock Studios officials want to build a movie and television production studio on 240 acres of the Waverly Oaks golf course property.
The project, they said, will include 14 sound stages, a back lot, a village center with hotel and an education center.
Communities Opportunities Group of Boston and Jeffrey Donohoe Associates in Manchester, N.H., drafted an economic analysis of the project using industry data, information from other studio developments in New Mexico and Wilmington, N.C., and the Plymouth Rock Studios development plan.
Donohoe on Tuesday night told selectmen and members of the town finance committee that the project would likely generate more than 3,000 jobs and $168 million in wages.
Those workers, in turn, would generate about 2,500 more jobs and another $147 million in wages, Donohoe said.
But it may take several years for the studio to realize its full economic potential, he warned.
Based on a $400 million value at buildout, the project would generate nearly $4 million in property tax revenue annually and cost the town about $786,000 in services, mostly police and fire, the report states.
More revenues would flow from hotel room taxes and permit fees.
The project would bring $30 million to $50 million in state funding for road, water and sewer improvements, much of which the town already needs without the studio project.
Numerous other commercial projects in Plymouth have received similar tax breaks.
Pinehills developers received an 85 percent property tax break for a proposed hotel and conference center in their 3,000-acre mixed use development not far from the studio site, but the hotel was never built.
Economic Development Director Denis Hanks says most other project received a tax break of 25 percent or less.
The tax breaks are negotiated based on jobs, wages and property values created by each project, Hanks said. Any tax break town meeting votes would gradually decrease over the course of the term, usually 20 years, and disappear completely at the end of the period.
If the project does not deliver on its estimate the property tax break can be rescinded or renegotiated. Town officials are negotiating the terms of Plymouth Rock Studios’ property tax break.
Tamara Race may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.