Although there has been some recent uncertainty over the future of Hollywood South, the long-awaited Deep South Studios just got the green light for an extra financial incentive. NOLA.com reports the planned mega-studio successfully lobbied for additional $1 million in incentives from the New Orleans Industrial Development Board this week.
The IDB previously awarded the project a property tax break called PILOT, which allows the developers to pay a fraction of the project’s full property taxes over a 10-year period, with the portion increasing steadily over the years. This week, the IBB approved a credit on that payment for $1 million.
Scott Niemeyer, the film producer and Algiers native behind the project, said the studios needed the extra cash as a gesture of confidence to entice Chinese investors through a federal program that grants green cards for foreign companies that invest in U.S. businesses.
The caps recently placed on Louisiana’s film tax credits have had a chilling effect on the local film industry, but the state is still awaiting a report from Louisiana Economic Development that will evaluate the health and future of the program.
As for an update on the studio itself, Niemeyer says workers have broken ground on the project, which got City Council’s OK back in December. Poised to be the largest fixed film production site between New Mexico and Georgia, the Deep South Studios plans to function as a film production campus with five sound stages, office space, two production buildings, and five more buildings for "support services" such as storage and lighting.