Talks resume for Charlotte's movie studio and sound stage

Talks resume for Charlotte's movie studio and sound stage

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by TONY BURBECK / WCNC.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Plans to build a movie studio and sound stage at the old Eastland Mall site may have come off life support at least a little bit Friday.

City officials and Studio Charlotte's developer resumed talks and focused on four main areas, including:

 - The city, saying "we've heard you" to public requests to have Studio Charlotte built at Eastland Mall.

 - Organizers canceling Monday's Studio Charlotte rally at the government center, at the city's request.

 - Both sides agreeing to move ahead with negotiations and good faith discussions.

 - And, all sides focusing efforts on state lawmakers and the future of film making tax incentives.

Studio Charlotte CEO Bert Hesse says knowing the availability of those state tax credits is vital to his financing.

City council members say they've asked for details about his finances and revenue projections for months, but haven't gotten the answers they need.

Hesse says he's answered all their questions, but won't divulge too much because he's trying to protect the anonymity of his investors.

A couple things Hesse didn't get that he is still asking for includes a five month extension of exclusive negotiating rights with the city, or tax money to split the cost of land tests to make sure the old mall site is ready for construction.

Council members say although they own the old mall site, Studio Charlotte is Hesse's project and he needs to pay for it.

Hesse says if the Eastland site doesn't work out, he'll build Studio Charlotte elsewhere in Mecklenburg County or South Carolina.

Hesse's deal with the city expires at the end of the month.

City leaders say they're exploring other options.
 

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