Reorganization led to amicable split with co-founder, company says
By Dennis Tatz
The Patriot Ledger
June 3, 2010
PLYMOUTH — In early 2008, former Paramount Pictures President David Kirkpatrick was saying Plymouth Rock Studios could be open for business at the end of 2010.
That’s not going to happen.
And now, Kirkpatrick has severed ties with the group seeking to build a $400 million film production facility on what is now Waverly Oaks Golf Club.
The company announced Tuesday that a reorganization has resulted in an amicable split with Kirkpatrick, a co-founder of Plymouth Rock Studios. Kirkpatrick will stay on as head of Rock Entertainment, a separate organization concentrating on movie making, television, social networking and education.
When the studio is built – completion could come before the end of 2012 – Rock Entertainment would be able to lease space for its productions.
Kirkpatrick could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
William Wynne will continue as chief executive officer and as chief operations officer for Plymouth Rock Studios.
Wynne said Wednesday that the reorganization will allow the two groups to focus on their different missions.
For Plymouth Rock Studios, the goal is to build and operate a world-class film production facility on the East Coast.
“We are absolutely very committed to the project,” Wynne said.
He said studio executives are still talking to lenders about backing the massive project.
“I’m not overly surprised,” South Shore Chamber of Commerce President Peter Forman said about Kirkpatrick’s departure from the studio. “This is much bigger than one person’s dream or idea.”
Forman said Kirkpatrick was instrumental in laying the groundwork for a project that would be a strong contributor to the local economy.
“He (Kirkpatrick) has already made a contribution to people thinking big,” Forman said. “He certainly captured people’s imaginations.”
Forman said the plan involves complex real estate deals and that there were bound to be setbacks.
He said the studio has to have the right team in place to get construction under way.
This past November, the studio canceled its agreement with its original lender, Prosperity International of Orlando, Fla. Prosperity was supposed to provide a $550 million construction loan for the project.
Possible lenders have suggested to studio executives that it might be best to reduce the first phase of construction by half.
Plymouth Rock wants to build 14 sound stages, a 10-acre back lot, offices, a theater, a hotel and retail shops in a campus-like setting.
The project is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs.
Dennis Tatz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.