CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Pa., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Poised to become the premier location for filmmaking in the Mid-Atlantic region, Sun Center Studios executives officially broke ground today on their state-of-the-art film and television production studios (at the former site of the Tri-State Sports Complex) in Chester Township, Delaware County. More than 150 guests, including state and local leaders and residents, attended the historic event to celebrate the $85 million project that will create more than 1,000 new jobs in the five-county region.
"Sun Center Studios promises to be a major attraction for the film and television industry, and for all of us who love the movies," said Jeffrey B. Rotwitt, who is leading the partnership that will build Sun Center Studios. "It will be the temporary home for major film makers, television shows and a broad range of motion picture projects. We also envision Sun Center Studios as a major tourist destination not only in the Greater Philadelphia region but along the entire I-95 corridor -- a place where visitors from near and far can learn about how movies and television shows are made, and enjoy educational exhibits and back-lot tours.
"Sun Center Studios will generate hundreds of new and good-paying jobs in our region, and it promises to help make Philadelphia one of the hottest places in the country for film and television production," Rotwitt said.
The new studios owe a debt of thanks to all of the state, county and local public officials who have been enthusiastic supporters of the project since its inception. In addition, the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit Program that provides tax incentives to production companies that operate in Pennsylvania, when combined with the state-of-the-art facility at Sun Center Studios, helps position the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be very competitive nationally in bidding for film and television production work.
"The film tax credit in Pennsylvania helps us compete against other cities and states that offer similar incentives to the film industry," said J. Mickey Rowley, Deputy Secretary for Tourism, Film and Marketing for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. "And when we compete, places like Sun Center Studios can provide tremendous returns by generating hundreds of good jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and benefits for Pennsylvania citizens.
"This is a great day for Pennsylvania," said Rowley. "Sun Center Studios is going to be among the best places to make movies anywhere in America."
Sun Center is expected to be completed by December 2010. It will generate 927 construction jobs, including 478 indirect jobs in the five-county region. Once operational, the studios expect to employ 286 permanent jobs (direct and indirect) in its first year, growing to 390 permanent jobs by the third year of operations.
"Pennsylvania is no stranger to the entertainment industry as demonstrated by its long history of film and television projects that have taken place here," said Hal Katersky, Chairman of Pacifica Ventures, which is a partner in the new studio, and has long-standing ties to Hollywood. "From classics like Rocky to contemporary films like Law Abiding Citizen, our region has made tremendous contributions to the film world. Sun Center Studios will further solidify that reputation by offering all the amenities and essential infrastructure that the big Hollywood studios provide right here in Pennsylvania."
At the news conference, Katersky outlined the plans for the project which consist of a 60,000 square foot building that will house a 30,000 square foot soundstage and a 30,000 square foot mill building where movie sets will be constructed and lighting and equipment used in film productions will be warehoused. The project also provides two 20,000 square foot purpose-built sound stages, and 30,000 square feet of contiguous office space. The site has the capacity for an additional four 20,000 square feet soundstages and 60,000 square feet of additional contiguous offices to house the increased demands of production companies during filming. If built to maximum capacity, the facility would spread over 270,000 square feet.
"Sun Center Studios will serve as an additional incentive for television and film production companies that want to develop projects in the Philadelphia region," said Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. "The facility's large production ready soundstages and planned amenities will attract some of the biggest and most well-known people in the industry who will spend money, hire local people, engage local businesses, and pay taxes."
While the core business of Sun Center will be film and television production, another major component of the project will be the creation of a companion tourist facility that will capitalize on the broad cache of the entertainment industry and celebrate famous films and shows. The family friendly tourist facility will be adjacent to the operating movie studio. An existing 44,000 square foot building will be the cornerstone of this facility and expanded by approximately 76,000 square feet to a total of 120,000 square feet, creating the destination tourist and special events venue. The plans include two movie theaters (3-D and 4-D) and two fully-enclosed "back-lot" streets that visitors will be able to walk evocative of a back-lot tour of a Hollywood studio set. The back-lot streets can also be used as an evening venue for special event dinners and parties. Food and beverage will be handled by the $13 billion dollar locally headquartered giant, Aramark, in partnership with one of the region's top caterers, Feastivities.
SOURCE Sun Center Studios