According to today’s issue of the Baton Rouge Advocate, R.W. Day, a real estate developer, is in the beginning stages of developing a $1.6 billion mixed-use development to be anchored by a $955 million (okay, not quite $1 billion) movie studio on O’Neal Lane and Interstate 12 in Baton Rouge.
PJ Production Magazine lists Louisiana as the best place to film a movie outside of Hollywood, and it looks as though people are taking notice. Incentive packages throughout Louisiana, particularly in Shreveport and New Orleans, have attracted a string of big-budget, star-studded Hollywood films.
(Incidentally, earlier this week, TMZ reported that Academy-Award winning actress Diane Keaton was spotted shopping in her curlers in Shreveport. Ms. Keaton was apparently taking a break from filming the upcoming film “Mad Money,” also starring Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes).
The project in Baton Rouge hopes to introduce a major industry and economic engine to Louisiana. Proponents of smart growth will appreciate that Steve Oubre of River Ranch fame will assist in designing other components of the project, including shopping and residential units. From the article:
(Chuck) Bush, who worked in 2002 with Mark Smith, the former head of the state’s film and video office, on crafting the tax credits that have fueled a boom in production work, said RedStick has put in an application for the tax credits but has no news on that front.
He said the business model is to ultimately employ as many as 2,000 workers and help build a permanent film industry here with all the economic benefits that go with it.
Nevertheless, the operations would have to include industry talent from cities such as Los Angeles and New York, he said.
Bush said the studio is being designed by Gary Bastion and Associates, a renowned designer whose work includes a major studio under way in Dubai. The residential component is being designed by Steve Oubre, who did River Ranch, a traditional neighborhood development in Lafayette.
This isn’t just good news for Baton Rouge; it’s good for the entire region. Louisiana offers some of the best, most unique locales for filming movies, and with the development of a major motion picture studio, we should all benefit.
It’s also important to note that Alexandria is located directly in between Baton Rouge and Shreveport, another prime location for movie productions, which potentially means that Horatio Isadore’s wall of celebrity signatures at the House of Java may get a little more crowded. (Last year, Academy-Award winning actor Sean Penn stopped by the House of Java during the filming of the movie “All the Kings Men,” which included extensive footage from Central Louisiana).
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