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Friday, September 25, 2009

If Joe Builds It, They will Come ..

If you've been following the real estate news in Eastern Massachusetts, you've surely read about Plymouth Rock Studios and the proposed "Hollywood East" major motion picture studio scheduled to break ground in the historic Plymouth, Mass area.

Today, there's a major break-through in the financing of the project and it's good news for a longtime NBA connection. Joe D. was the CFO of the Celtics back in the day when the club went public in the mid-1980s and is now one of the king-pins in the Plymouth Rock studio endeavor.

Read all about it in today's Boston Globe and see:

A team of California film executives, who came to Plymouth two years ago with a plan to build the first full-fledged production studio on the East Coast, is ready to make good on that promise.

Plymouth Rock Studios announced today that it has secured a $550 million construction loan from an international lender in Florida, Prosperity International LLC.

Prosperity International, a multi-billion-dollar firm based in Orlando, Fla., has been involved in projects across the globe, including the Caribbean, Europe, Western and South Africa, Latin America and the United States.

Sometimes the company arranges financing for large infrastructure projects. In the case of the studio project, Prosperity International will be the direct lender. The first payment to Plymouth Rock is set for November.

With money in hand, the studio company’s next step is purchase of the Waverly Oaks Golf Course, the 240-acre target site that carries a price tag of $16.5 million. The deal is set to close in November, about the same time construction on a $50 million access road to the facility will get underway. Studio construction will begin in earnest in the spring and the facility will open for business in the spring of 2012.

The studio complex will consist of 14 sound stages, a 10-acre back lot, production and post-production facilities, a theater and amenity village. Planners also expect to give a ground lease for some major hotel there. The facility will allow producers to make movies and television shows from start to finish, right on site -- something never before possible on the East Coast.

“I think it speaks to the strength and vision David Kirkpatrick and Earl Lestz put together,” said Plymouth Rock’s real estate partner Bill Wynne of the two top company officials who came up with the studio plan. “This is a seriously large deal in a terrible economy.”

While Plymouth Rock officials had thought the project might have to be built in phases, they now plan to construct the entire complex, including 1.3 million square feet of building space, over two years. The educational facility will be the only component notready for the opening.

Plymouth Rock has spent about $11 million to date on engineering studies and plans needed to secure local permits as well as on material required for its 1,000-page environmental impact study.

Before construction on the studio can begin, the state must sign off on the impact report submitted by Plymouth Rock officials on Sept. 15. The public comment period on the EIR will close Oct. 23 and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles is expected to make a decision by Oct. 30.

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