Hangar42 Studios opens in West MichiganFebruary 5th, 2010 at 2:53 pm by Laff at the Movies under Entertainment
Hangar42 Studios becomes the biggest film production studio in Michigan
(UPDATED WITH MORE INFO, VIDEO, CONTACTS FOR JOBS OR VENDORS)
“I’ve had producers walk into this building and say we need to buy this place … it resonates that hard with them,” said Rick Hert, Film Commissioner of The West Michigan Film Office.
Its a big place… and a big deal… Hangar42 Studios is now officially open for business in the film and tv industry.
The nearly 500,000-square-foot full-service film production studio takes over the former Lear Plant at 2150 Alpine Ave NW in Walker.
Hangar42 Studios says it is Michigan’s first fully-financed major film studio to open utilizing the infrastructure credit as part of the Michigan Film Credit.
The studio expects to create 50-60 administrative positions and 750 – 1,000 additional jobs in its first three years of operation.
“This levels the playing field this gives us the opportunity to sell the largest studio in the state, perhaps the midwest or the United States”, Hert said. “Its a facility thats for year round filming… its gonna give us a chance to be able to secure a number of projects to our area.”
Two small budget movies have already used the facilities… “Genesis Code” (starring Ernest Borgnine, Fred Thompson, Louise Fletcher) used the large building space for sets and green screens summer 2009 and “Gun” (starring 50 Cent, Val Kilmer) shots scenes, including an explosive action scene in January 2010.
Hert and the West Michigan Film Office have been working on getting a permanent building with studio or soundstage space for months – “The exciting thing about it is that as these productions come in, they’re gonna create jobs and what we can look at is tv shows, feature films and these would be year-round job opportunities because of the size of this space we have that opportunity to have three, four, five, six projects going on in here at a time”.
A group of local investors own Hangar42 Studios, investing $45 million to purchase and renovate 450,000 square feet of the former Lear Plant. 150 people on crews working 3 shifts a day 24/7 for about two weeks are renovating it into production-ready studios, office space and post-production suites. The facility was built in 1942 by the U.S. Government as a military airplane and boat manufacturing facility and later was a General Motors and Lear plant.
Artist renderings of some of the rooms to be built as part of Hangar 42 Studios.
Hert says that Michigan went from $2 million in filming in 2007, to $125 million in 2008 (after passing the state’s tax incentives in April 2008), to $225 million worth of filming in 2009 in the state of Michigan.
“Not just compete in the state of Michigan, this is world class stuff,” Hert added. ”I mean I’m talking to folks from England, Italy right now… this is world class because of our tax incentives that we have because of this facility because of the locations because of the services we can offer because of our growing crew base, this is world class.”
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The investment and the players in this project
From a press release: “This is a project that has been in the works for quite some time and represents a true public/private sector partnership. We couldn’t be more excited to now officially be open for business and are very appreciative to the Michigan Film Office for all the support it’s provided,” said Joe Peters, principal with Hangar42 Studios. “West Michigan is an attractive option for producers with its unparalleled tax rebate structure, diverse landscape and topography for film shoots and access to a large, skilled workforce. Our vision is to establish Hangar42 Studios as the premiere full-service film studio and a go-to partner for film projects of all budgets and sizes.”
From a press release: Hangar42 Studios bought the facility from John Buchanan, a partner in the local law firm Buchanan and Beckering, and Blue Bridge Ventures LLC CEO Jack Buchanan. They purchased the plant from Lear nearly four years ago, redeveloped the buildings and the property, and gained a Renaissance Zone designation for the site with help from Walker officials and state representatives Robert Dean and David Hildenbrand.
From a press release: “The vision was always adaptive reuse for this building when my father and I purchased it in 2006, and it’s rewarding to be able to collaborate with Joe to put this innovative project together,” said Jack Buchanan, who studied film production in college and will serve as a consultant to the new enterprise.
WOODTV.com story: http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/entertainment/Action-Its-Hangar-42
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