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The Louisville Gardens Studio Plan includes a “campus” for the downtown entertainment industry.detail

Louisville, Kentucky (WDRB) – Four soundstages for film, television and other projects, spanning a 40,000 square foot production room. theaters, offices, retail spaces, and museums.

Outside, the restored façade and two towering eagles on Mohammed Ali Boulevard are revived.

The closed Louisville Gardens on Sixth Street and Mohammed Ali Boulevard will undergo at least a $60 million renovation under plans announced Friday. The plan also envisages converting a nearby state property into a training facility for jobs in the entertainment industry.

Parking lots and the Kentucky Career Center are located on the block between 6th and 7th Avenues, Ali Street and Cedar Street.

Mayor Greg Fisher said at a press conference at the closed arena on Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Fifth Avenue, “We think it’s going to be a campus around here, not just this building.

“This is not a build-and-make project,” said Fisher, who oversaw several failed attempts to renovate the 117-year-old building. He said $60 million has already been invested in production filmed in Jefferson County this year.

“We can bring this industry to the level of other distinctive industries that we have, attract more creatives and young people to our city, and add to the already great performing arts scene. “This investment means investing in a whole new industry in our city.”

Louisville Gardens

Louisville Gardens, December 9, 2022.

The Metropolitan Government on Friday signed a letter of intent for the project with River City Entertainment Group LLC, which will renovate and manage the building. The company, which is principally led by executives with experience in music and soundstage production, has about six months before signing a development deal with the administration of incoming mayor Craig Greenberg.

The letter of intent says the city plans to lease Louisville Gardens, and state financial incentive documents released Thursday show the Metro government will charge $1 a year in rent for 10 years. I’m here.

But Jeff O’Brien, director of the city’s Louisville Forward Economic Development Authority, said those terms have not been finalized. We will finalize how the property will actually hold in the long term,” he said.

If all goes according to plan, the three-year construction period, which will create 600 to 800 jobs, could begin next year, said Scott Hodgkins of River City Entertainment Group. He said the project’s budget could exceed $60 million based on the condition of the building and would likely include additional state tax incentives.

“We’re looking at something that can open its doors in four years and bring all that new economic influx to the city,” he said.

The company received preliminary approval Thursday from the Kentucky Department of Economic Development and Finance for $700,000 in local and state wage incentives over the next 10 years. These incentives are based on 50 full-time jobs created with an average hourly wage of $58 including benefits.

However, Hodgkins estimates that there are up to 200 jobs related to filming movies and extended series in the area. “So we see this as a real opportunity for the city,” he said.

Enacted in 2021 and made available this year, state film incentives will earn 58 films approved with a budget of $150 million or more, including 6,228 jobs from Kentucky-based people. said Susie Eastman, president of 502 Films and chairman of Louisville Films. commission.

“I’ve seen other cities like New Orleans in Atlanta building studios like this,” she said. “This investment from River City Entertainment Group expands opportunities for Louisville to attract more production and support services here, inviting creatives to come and stay in our community.”

The River City Entertainment Group, which was set up for the Gardens project, is associated with real estate investment firm Xebec. Nashville-based Hodgkins is the company’s executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer.

Xebec CEO Randy Kendrick owns at least a 20% stake in River City Entertainment Group, according to documents related to public incentives approved Thursday.

Principal of the River City Group, Tony Guanci is founder and chairman of EDGEOUT Records and vice chairman of Danny Wimmer Presents, which has produced Louisville festivals such as Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life.

Early plans call for a museum honoring Louisville Gardens and a restored theater on the second floor for “some entertainment,” Guanci said. He also suggested that special productions could use the building during events like his Kentucky Derby.

Speaking at Louisville Gardens, Guanci said the facility’s goal is to attract not only film and television projects, but digital media used by young content creators such as TikTok and Instagram.

“It’s the economy. Platforms and distribution are different than what you see at the feature film level,” he said. “But it’s an industry that needs attention.”

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