A new film studio project has been proposed in Summit County, with initial talks underway and notifications sent out to county officials. The company Masque Studios Utah hopes to construct a $100 million facility in the Boyer Tech Park located in Kimball Junction.
The developer is proposing to take a majority of the allotted space in the tech park, with plans that include 25 buildings, roughly 500,000 square feet of space spread over 35 acres. As currently planned, the studio would include a large campus-like area, a state-of-the-art digital post-production facility, eight digital sound stages, a 350-seat fully digital 3D theater and a convention center, said Steve Perry, the founder of Masque Studios Utah. It would also create more than 1,000 construction jobs for locals and more than 2,000 jobs working on various films scheduled once the studio is completed, he added.
"I want to build a motion picture studio in the digital age that would be this organic hot bed of digital media awareness, a think tank, a place to build relationships," Perry said. "I wanted this campus-vibe to the project.
"Microsoft , Apple and Nike, these are companies that have beautiful campuses for their employees, and that idea, all of that, is what I want to bring to the table."
Perry has been in the film industry for more than three decades, working on projects such as the "Lethal Weapon" films as well as the Robert Redford classics such as "Ordinary People" and "A River Runs Through It." Perry started Masque Studios Utah, to focus primarily on independent film projects, but said it would be capable of handling large scale digital green screen studio projects as well. The intent is to create a brick-and-mortar location that would support all aspects of the film-making process, from screen writing to directing to post-production, he said.
The Boyer Tech Park, a project that has already received county approval, was green lighted as a 50-acre development a total of 1,295,000 square feet of commercial development for office and research facilities that would create high-paying jobs in Summit County.
Four hundred acres of land surrounding the tech park was set aside as a preserve, an effort among county officials to limit the amount of construction along the entrance to Park City. In the provision establishing the preserve, the Boyer Construction Company was approved to build the tech park with set limits on what the 50-acre space could be used for: to create high-paying, sustainable jobs.
"Bringing higher paying jobs to the area is what I've been pushing for years," said Jon Buetler, the Director of the Park City Business Resource Center, who has been involved in the studio project since the initial stages. " Technology is the direction we need to move, very current. And this project captures that in a very exciting way.
"Early on, we're going to create a lot of jobs for existing Summit county residents. As Masque looks at education, high school and middle school kids, we could be creating jobs well into the future."
Since the 2008 approvals from the county, the corridor has already undergone dramatic changes, opening the first structure of the tech park last year, including the new Park City Chamber/Bureau Visitor Center, other mixed-use businesses and a planned apartment complex offering affordable housing.
"The question remains whether or not the use proposed by this studio falls into the defined uses of that space," said Summit County Councilmember Claudia McMullin. "That definition was meant to be technology-based."
"If the use is akin to what the studio is suggesting, more (technology-based) than a sound stage with actors, it sounds like it may fit (the intended use)," she added. "That's just an initial take without having studied it in depth."
McMullin was formally notified of the project late on Friday.
Originally, Perry intended to locate the studio in New Mexico but said he has been considering relocating to Park City for over a year. The shift away from New Mexico came after the governor of the state began to restructure state tax credits on film production. Perry started exploring potential properties along the Wasatch Front, but ultimately decided on Park City as the perfect place for the studio.
Masque also plans to include a large music component to the studio.
"We were very excited," said the Boyer Tech Park Project Manager Dave Allen. "We think it was a good use of the property, a lot of the same upsides the tech park had, creating a good job base and tax base."
"We've spent a lot of time on this project already," Allen added. "We've spent time with county staff and concluded that the county will need to be involved in approving this specific use, but we feel like it achieves the same objectives. Perhaps it is not the original intent, but in terms of creating high-paying jobs, we think it fits well in the community and achieves the objectives."