Plymouth planners green light studio bid

By Sarah Shemkus
Cape Cod Times
May 05, 2009

PLYMOUTH — The future of the proposed Plymouth Rock Studios came into sharper focus last night as the town planning board voted unanimously to approve the master plan for the project. The vote was taken with the stipulation that the town and the developers have 40 days to work out the final details of the agreement.

“It’s another milestone we’ve passed as far as the overall design of the 240 acres,” said Bill Wynne, chief executive of Plymouth Rock Real Estate Investments, the real estate management and development arm of the studio.

The developers expect to break ground on the $550 million project this summer, Wynne said. Construction on the actual studio facilities would not begin for several months after the initial site work begins, he said.

“We got about six to eight months of pushing dirt around before we can really start building,” he said.
Following last night’s vote the studio still has a few more procedural steps to complete.

In January, the developers applied for financing from the state’s new Infrastructure Investment Incentive program — generally referred to as I-Cubed — a $250 million initiative designed to encourage public infrastructure improvements that will support private development. Under the program, cost and risk are shared by private developers, municipalities and the state. Plymouth Rock Studios could receive as much $50 million in financing for roadwork, water and sewer improvements.
The studio is waiting for the state to issue a preliminary approval.

Plymouth’s representative town meeting must then authorize selectmen to finalize the agreement.
A town meeting is scheduled for June 1. It is unclear whether the state will issue its decision in time for town meeting to make a decision at that session.

Last October, town meeting approved a package of tax breaks for the studio and the creation of a movie and entertainment zoning district. Last month, the body authorized roadwork necessary for studio construction.

The studio and the board of selectmen have also sign a memorandum of understanding, in which the developers committed to significant infrastructure investment including the construction of sewer lines and traffic mitigation measures.

The proposed studio would include 14 sound stages, office buildings, a hotel, post-production facilities, a 900-seat theater, restaurants, a visitors center and a 10-acre back lot. The studio is to be built on 240 acres of land currently owned and occupied by the Waverly Oaks Golf Club.

If construction proceeds according to schedule, the studio will open for business in 2010.

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