It will be bigbut not as big is was supposed to be: the size and cost of the much-anticipatedToronto mega-studio has been scaled back.
As reportedSept. 10 in Screendaily, Toronto Film Studios (TFS) has signed a land leasewith the City of Toronto, a crucial step toward breaking ground on thestate-of-the-art production facility. However, the revised plans, unveiled at apress conference today in Toronto, call for significantly less studio space forsignificantly less money than was originally announced in June of 2004.
Rather than a"C$175m film/media complex" with 750,000 sq. ft. of production capacity asenvisioned in the 2004 announcement, TFS said the first phase of the "C$100mproduction complex", dubbed Filmport, will open with an initial 232,500 sq. ftand expand to 550,000 sq. ft. Correspondingly, TFS boosted the potential sizeof neighbouring real estate it would like to see developed to one million sq.ft from 2004's 500,00 sq. ft.
Still, thediamond in the tiara if not the crown remains the same: a 45,000 sq. ft.mega-stage that aspires to be North America's largest purpose-built soundstage, with a 65-foot clear span and a floor space 180 feet wide and 250 feetlong - "large enough to house a full-size replica of the Parthenon".Ultimately, the plans call for more than "more than a dozen sound-stages."
The terms of the99-year lease oblige TFS to being construction no later than Aug 31, 2006. Theagreement remains to be ratified by Toronto City Council, although the presenceof the mayor at the today's press conference suggests that will be a rubber-stampprocess.
The bigger issueis financing. While the studio facility is expected to cost C$100m The RoseCorp and its equity partners have announced only $25m, although HSBC BankCanada has offered construction financing.
Torontoproducers will believe the new facility when they see it. According to the 2004 pressannouncement, construction of phase I was scheduled to begin this year.