The developer of the Park City Film Studios said early in the week three operators are under consideration to manage the studio and, possibly, become an investor in the project.
Greg Ericksen, the chairman of Park City Film Studios Development, LLC, said in an interview Raleigh Studios, the Hollywood outfit long associated with the project, is one of the three. He declined to identify the other two but said each is "well known worldwide."
Raleigh Studios has indicated to the developer it would step aside if an agreement is reached with one of the others, according to Ericksen. He said the developer anticipates making a decision about the firm that will eventually manage the facility late in the summer.
Raleigh Studios was early on identified as the firm that would manage the studios in Park City. It has studios in Hollywood, Atlanta and Playa Vista, Calif., according to the Raleigh Studios website. Officials with Raleigh Studios have made few public statements about the Park City project. An executive did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Ericksen in the spring of 2012 indicated Raleigh Studios had signed a 20-year lease with a renewal option. He said early this week Raleigh Studios was restructured since the agreement was reached.
On its website early in the week, Raleigh Enterprises, a firm tied to Raleigh Studios, listed the Park City site as under development. The website said Raleigh Studios is "assisting" with the project in Park City. Ericksen said Raleigh Studios continues to advise the developer.
"It honestly is beyond my wildest expectations to have this interest," Ericksen said, noting Park City's quality of life, employment opportunities and proximity by air to the Los Angeles-area film industry.
Ericksen, meanwhile, said a state-run firm from China, National Film Capital of China, remains involved in the project. He declined to discuss the details of the group's role, however. The Chinese firm previously has indicated it could open an office on the property and assist in setting a strategy for what is anticipated to be an international film school.
Ericksen in 2012 narrowly won an approval from Park City leaders to annex 29 acres of land into the city limits and then build the project. Officials expressed design related concerns, among other issues, as the project was approved. Supporters of the project spoke of the opportunity to diversify the economy and the role the facility could play in the state's film industry.
The studio complex will anchor what is planned as a 374,000-square-foot development. A hotel, entertainment center, international film school and digital media center are also envisioned as part of the project.
The developer recently started work at the site, located at the southwest corner of Quinn's Junction, after holding a ceremonial groundbreaking in 2013. Ericksen said the crews have begun to level the grade at the site. He said he anticipates obtaining a building permit from City Hall this week in anticipation of vertical construction starting within 30 days. The work will be visible from S.R. 248 and U.S. 40.
Ericksen said the construction this year will involve two buildings totaling approximately 100,000 square feet of space. They will house three film and television sound stages, preproduction and postproduction facilities, a digital media center and a construction shop where sets will be built.
He expects both of the buildings will be open by the end of 2014. Ericksen said he drove past the site on Monday and reflected on the project.
"I took a minute and said this is going to be a beautiful place," he said.