The Studios at Las Colinas Not Reel Happy With Dallas's Efforts to Build Studio in Cedars

Gov Perry at Studios.JPG
Via.
Rick Perry and Justin Muller at The Studios at Las Colinas
On Friday we spoke with Janis Burklund, head of the Dallas Film Commission, about why the city council will on Wednesday more than likely approve a $235,000 economic development grant for a film and television production studio in a S. Lamar warehouse owned by Jack Matthews. Long story short: Burklund said TNT and Warner Horizon, makers of the next-gen Dallas reboot, need a facility bigger than what The Studios at Las Colinas can provide, and if the city doesn't step up the network and producers will more than likely go out of state if and when the series is picked up.

To which The Studios at Las Colinas's higher-ups respond: Say what now? Jennifer Loeb King, vice president and chief business officer of Muller Entertainment, the management company for the Irving-based facility, shot us a lengthy response to Friday's item, which follows in full. Says King, they didn't even know the city wanted its own facility. But now that they do, they aren't pleased.

From Jennifer Loeb King:
It was extremely informative to know about these efforts as we were not aware of this. The references to The Studios at Las Colinas were also interesting. It was with particular notice to read that we are a nice place. As a matter of fact, we have been a "nice" place for 30 years now -- nice enough for Lone Star, The Deep End, Prison Break as well as a long list of credits that include being "nice" enough for JFK, Talk Radio, Silkwood, RoboCop and The Trip to Bountiful.

The Studios at Las Colinas is an air-conditioned sound stage building with three sound stages. We also have nearby warehouses and offices that could potentially make us "big" enough for any size production. The developers and owners, past and present, have poured millions of dollars into the Studios to keep it open as a commitment to the people and infrastructure our industry community has had for decades.

The truth is that no one other than our management knows what deals we have cut and the losses the Studios has sustained year after year to attract high profile projects. So, it really is unfair for anyone working in the film and TV business in North Texas to comment or dismiss the Studios as "this or that."

How unfortunate that some of the elected Dallas public officials would imply that they needed to keep Hollywood from going to the Studios. The Studios at Las Colinas remains dedicated to having film, television, commercial and corporate productions stay in North Texas, just as we have for over 30 years.

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23 comments
FLIP
FLIP

The studio at las colinas, well I have worked on 4 different show their, 1st studio is to small, 2nd the air conditioning is really bad, its on or off, you can not control the temp, 3rd their is not a large enough mill area, and the bigest problem his JUSTIN MULLER  WANTING TO PLAY GODDDDDDDDDD.

JLK
JLK

To clarify, The Studios at Las Colinas did not state they were unhappy with the City of Dallas having studio facilities.... We were simply trying to clarify statements made by others regarding costs and size; and the fact that stages already exist that can accomodate a series such as "DALLAS" without throwing public money at new ones. We welcome anything that increases the depth of the film and tv infrastructure...and would be glad to provide the Cedars developer any insights we have learned trying to survive as a soundstage business. The Studios have always supported working together as a team to attract business and will continue to do so.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

This is like having the Brother In Law come over with his latest and greatest We will make some money here Ideas ..

If its such a good idea get  bank financing.

MattL1
MattL1

I don't have enough information on whether or not the city's investment here is a good one.  I feel it could be, but I will leave that for the 2 or 3 people out there smarter than me.

But the more I think about it, the more I believe that The Cedars is a great location for a studio.  It's centrally located, has a good creative climate already in place, and it's adjacent to a lot of different neighborhoods with a lot of character that have all proven themselves to be good filming locations.  

Plus, it's kind of fun to see your city on a TV show not called "Cheaters."

Ed D.
Ed D.

When Irving opened their shiny new convention center in Las Colinas this year, I didn't hear any whining from all the other North Texas cities that already had convention centers. So why should The Studios at Las Colinas be exempt from a little local competition? If your business model involves being the only option for 150 miles, rethink your business model.

Hey buddy can you spare a dime
Hey buddy can you spare a dime

Bigjondaniel has hit the nail on the head.......consider this quote - "The Studios at Las Colinas is an air-conditioned sound stage building with three sound stages. We also have nearby warehouses and offices that could potentially make us "big" enough for any size production. The developers and owners, past and present, have poured millions of dollars into the Studios to keep it open as a commitment to the people and infrastructure our industry community has had for decades". 

So the City of Dallas wants to build its own studio - absent a comprehensive strategy, analysis of future costs and potential for additional city commitment of funds - all on the basis of what?    That sounds like a great economic development program.  Let's go spend money with a developer to build a studio that we don't know what our long term costs might look like, what other market opportunities exists that are "real", and let's do this because Janis says we need to.   

Mayor Rawlings - when do you come on board as our Mayor?  Well that is not soon enough to stop this lunacy..........

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

Here's an interesting lesson. A city spends money to build a building for a specific high profile artistic endevour. There is no indigenous artistic scene to use the building, and the professional uses of the building are problematic due to location, management and costs. The technology and style of usage changes, so the building is not as attractive. There is no comprehensive strategy by the state, area, or local governments to build a footprint of the industry that uses the facility, or foster the growth of the industry because the right people's pockets are not going to get lined. So the suburban city has to sit on the facility forever, subsidizing their huge municipal ego by throwing good money after bad. In DFW, we build big shit because everything is about the real estate deal, and who makes money off of it, then the taxpayers end up eating it, and the citizens end up living is a town designed by people who do not have their best interest at heart.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

A lot of music videos were either shot or produced there back in the 80's. Land Of Confusion by Genesis among them if I remember correctly. David Byrne did some stuff there too. Robert Plant rehearsed there for a few months before he went out on his first solo tour.

elbueno
elbueno

Two words: Tough Shit. This is the type of thing Dallas should be doing...competing with the suburbs. 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

The Studios was hot...about two decades ago..Not many projects outside of Fox shows have shot there, which says something. If we're going to bring in new studio business to Texas, its going to have to be a sea change from the top down, starting with the Govs office and how tax abatements for major studios are provided. One of those things is changing the way these are handed out, as currently any project that "offends or disrepects" the state by their product(i.e. shows Texas in a bad light) is automatically disquallified. Last time I checked, New Mexico and Lousiana lacked that in their abatment fund agreements.

Again, Perry-style government is screwing us over ;)

G_David
G_David

If the year was 1991, that would be quite an impressive list of feature films.  Unfortunately it's 2011.  And Fuente is right, the problem with the Studios in Las Colinas is that most productions want to use an actual location once in a while.  And they would prefer not having to drive 15 miles to do it.

Enrique De La Fuente
Enrique De La Fuente

The problem with The Studios at Las Colinas is that it is in Las Colinas. 

HolySheets
HolySheets

hmmm...lets see.if this is the first time that ME has heard about it...id recommend they get out of irving more often. its simple...the city wants to keep the production $$$ in dallas and not let it go to irving.

Henry
Henry

Mark that under "Who gives a shit"!

Guest
Guest

It's not a bank idea.

The studio exists. It's already there. I imagine that even if the city decides not to do this deal, it will have A/C in short order, as well. And certainly, Jack Matthews can just rent the space to whoever wants to come use it and make money that way (and if a TV show came to town for six months of shooting, it might well generate more than $235,000 in studio rent for Matthews).

I imagine that TNT/Warners started looking at places to shoot and asked what they could get if they came to town in the way of incentives, etc.

And the Dallas Film Commission mentions the state incentives, and maybe TNT/Warners comes back with "That's great and all, but we could really use some low cost studio space."

And the Film Commission comes back with, "Let me see what I can do."

And then the Film Commission goes to Jack Matthews and asks, "What kind of awesome rate can you give TNT/Warners to shoot 'Dallas' in your already built studio in the Cedars?"

And Jack Matthews says, "I'll tell you what, if the city pays to set up the already-existing studio with air conditioning, we'll give 'em free rent for six months."

And so now the Dallas Film Commission runs with that.

A bank isn't interested in subsidizing studio rent for a television production. Because the city believes that having a TV show shooting here brings outside money into the city in excess of what it costs, the city is frequently interested in providing subsidies.

You can certainly argue that the city shouldn't be giving away money to try to bring businesses to town (especially a temporary business like a TV show or movie), but you really couldn't expect a bank to give away $235,000 in an effort to lure a business, a few million in spending and a few temporary jobs to town.

Howard
Howard

Hey don't knock Cheaters. It's the longest running scripted show produced in Dallas.

Guest
Guest

Actually, this $235,000 plan is better planned out than a lot of stuff.

The city gives Matthews $235,000 on the condition that Matthews finds a TV show or movie to rent the studio for six months at no cost. If Matthews can't get a TV show or movie to rent the studio, the $235,000 stays in the city's pocket.

Beyond that, it's all on Matthews' shoulders to get further business for his private business. The city isn't building a studio. Jack Matthews is. The city is looking to indirectly subsidize a single TV show or movie's studio rent for six months.

And certainly Jack Matthews could come back and ask for more money later, but the city isn't making any commitment now to any further spending. The city has no ownership stake.

Spending $235,000 to get six months of local shooting doesn't seem to outsize of an investment for the potential returns (your own opinion may vary on whether it's worth $235,000 of city money to get a TV show or movie here for six months).

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

Rawlings won't put a stop to any of this. He's got to pay back all the "contributors" who donated $2 million for his campaign.

cp
cp

I did my internship there when I was studying music publishing (Chris Christian Music Publishing, just upstairs from the sound stages) and I met Phil Collins and was in the very beginning shot of the video for "Jesus He Knows Me". They were also shooting 'Walker Texas Ranger" there, and some Chevy Truck commercials with Janine Turner and Randy White, Sonic commercials with Frankie Avalon, and of course, Barney and Friends. It was a busy place in 1992... 

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

Funny because Las Colinas is a fictional town, the real town has such a bad stigma that they invented a fictional town

MattL1
MattL1

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I love Cheaters.  It's FANTASTIC television.

Howard
Howard

I think this is the best plan: Get a show first that agrees to produce in Dallas and which is interested in his studio space, and then he'll get the money (as a low-interest loan). Can't get a show? Sorry, not our or the city council's problem.

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