Delco has Hollywood plans

July 24, 2008 3:40:31 PM PDT
Rocky, The Sixth Sense, and Transformers. All blockbuster hits - all made in our region. Now, Delaware County is looking for some lights, camera, action of its own. It's a bold move, especially in these economic times; an $85 million, Hollywood-style movie-production studio.

It could turn our region into a major player in the film-making industry, and bring economic relief to much of Delaware county: Sun Center Studios will be built on the 33 acre site of the Tri-State Sports Complex.

Plans call for the 370,000 square-foot facility to include 5 studios and a tourist museum with a 4-D movie theatre, in the first phase.

It will also create at least 1,000 permanent jobs in Chester Township.

"These are going to be high-paying, good jobs with high benefits, year-round," said councilman Bob May.

The timeline for Sun Center studios is contigent on the Chester-Upland school district empowerment board approving a multi-million dollar tax break for the studio developers and that could happen soon.

Philadelphia real estate attorney Jeff Rotwitt has partnered with Pacifica Ventures in California to develop Sun Center Studios. He says they're trying to create an industry in Pennsylvania that doesn't exist.

"We're trying to bring productions here for the first time that will be based here, for essentially the entire shoot," he said.

Reportedly, director M. Night Shyamalan already wants to shoot his next project at the new studio.

"The Last Airbender" will be a trilogy; a live-action adaptation of Nickelodeon's popular animated TV series.

Shyamalan could begin shooting the next installment next year.

Groundbreaking on the new studio should get underway in a few months.

"The movie industry is going to become a very powerful economic force in this region," said Sharon Pinkenson, director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

Governor Ed Rendell wants the stars to come and stay here; he's committed $10 million in state funding to the project. It's expected to lure big production work from New York, L.A., and Canada.

In fact, the developer tells us Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers, have already expressed an interest in using the new Delaware County studios.

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