The Magic City's iconic streets served as the backdrop for one of TV's most lucrative shows, USA's “Burn Notice.” After seven seasons, props from the show were auctioned off, and production has wrapped. But so has the temporary studio in the Coconut Grove Convention Center, which could potentially be set for demolition.
Cue an unassuming building in Miami's Omni district, and a big vision.
The former school building turned storage facility was last owned by the Miami-Dade school district. Officials hope it will fill the need for a permanent large-scale studio.
"Hopefully attract the movie industry back to South Florida and give them an up-to date facility to shoot movies, TV shows, TV commercials," said Pieter A. Bockweg, executive director of the Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency.
The Omni CRA is now accepting bids from developers willing to turn the building into a plug and play facility. The Omni CRA would reimburse the winning bidder up to $10.5 million for the cost of developing the property. The funds would come from property taxes.
"However in return we are not giving up the land, we are leasing the property out to an operator," said Bockweg.
The Miami Entertainment Complex would include three large sound stages, 50-foot ceiling heights, and plenty of studio space. The idea is it will raise revenue for the city and the CRA, which will be invested back into the surrounding area.
With its proximity to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, Bockweg hopes the studio will help to transform the up and coming area.
"To create the continuity between the two facilities and to see the future of 14th Street, people walking, shopping, eating, having some drinks," Bockweg said.
Show business is big business in South Florida. It employs approximately 10,000 workers — and has an annual impact of over $1 billion dollars to the local economy, according to the Miami-Dade County Film and Entertainment Office. Mostly recently the region played host to big-budget films like “Pain and Gain” and the Starz period drama “Magic City” – which has since been cancelled. The film “Rock of Ages” filmed scenes near the location designated for a potential studio.
"When ‘Rock of Ages’ was present here in Miami they hired on a daily basis close to 300 people local residents in Miami-Dade," Bockweg said.
What brings productions to cities are production incentives. Bockweg says he is committed to working with the Florida Legislature to get its support.
"We understand the importance of incentives to attract the industry here. Without those incentives, they will not be coming," Bockweg said.
The CRA will wait 30 days for the responses from potential bidders to come in. A bidding process will follow, and then a bidder will be recommended for the Community Board's approval.
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