Studio group signs pact for first commercial project at former naval air base
by Jack Encarnacao
The Patriot Ledger
December 20, 2008
WEYMOUTH — The parties looking to build movie and television production studios on the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station have signed a deal they say clears the way for construction to begin in August.
The deal between developer LNR Property Corp. and Los Angeles-based International Studio Group (ISG) is the first to be signed for commercial development on the base, which LNR is redeveloping into a sprawling mixed-use complex called SouthField. Long-term plans call for development through 2017.
“Things will happen very quickly,” said Robert Papazian, one of ISG’s principals and a Belmont native, who has produced several television shows, including “Nash Bridges” and “Rome.”
The $100 million project, called SouthField Studios, will include 11 sound stages, production offices and more than 125,000 square feet of retail and office space.
Individuals involved in ISG, a privately held company, have successfully opened, restored and operated movie studios in California.
Design and architectural plans still need to be developed and approved before work on the project begins.
The project’s scope was scaled down from what was originally talked about – a $300 million project with up to 15 sound stages.
That version of the project was predicated on the state passing new new tax breaks for major projects. SouthField Studios stood to secure about $60 million in tax credits under that proposal, but it failed to win legislative approval this year despite concerted lobbying.
The idea behind the project is that the new studios will offer post-production facilities for film crews that have been lured to Boston by tax incentives. Many film projects have come to Massachusetts for location shooting, but leave the state after shooting to complete the projects in Los Angeles and New York.
A separate group is planning a film studio in Plymouth.
Jack Encarnacao may be reached at email@example.com.