Where would you put a movie studio in Boston?

As first reported here, councilors Murphy and Linehan want to look at building a movie production facility in Boston. The Herald reports developer Tim Pappas may already be on the case and scouting land off Summer Street past the South Boston convention center.

Jay Fitzgerald suggests the 500 block of Harrison Avenue:

... There's an abandoned brick warehouse/garage around there that has an old stately look to it – and I've always wondered why it hasn't been converted into a theater or condos or something. ...

I'd propose a third possibility: The old Stop & Shop warehouse off Neponset Valley Parkway in Readville. It's a huge, now mostly dormant facility, with plenty of room for expansion. It's not that far from 128 and it has its own rail spur for Tom or Ben's private train.



Free tagging: 


    How about behind Boston Garden?

    There's a big empty parking lot back there going to waste. The adjoining Spalding Rehab hospital will be moving to Charlestown in a few years, opening up even more space.

    I don't think so

    Ron, I think the Nashua Street land is too valuable for a sound stage, given its location. Condos would pay off big, even if they have to wait a couple more years.

    Spaulding should become another hospital or assisted living facility, no?

    Or, an extension of the Suffolk County jail, across the street? LOL!

    If the Nashua Street land is so valuable ....

    why hasn't it been built on already? A parking lot is what you put on land when nobody values it for anything more important.

    I would not want to live in a condo at that location -- it's quite isolated from the rest of the city.

    (And the jail should be converted to a luxury hotel, as was its predecessor on Charles Street.)

    ... or Charlestown, or Roxbury? Or Bayside Expo Center?

    both Bunker Hill Community College and Roxbury Community College have large swaths of surface parking that the state should sell off for development. Why not put a movie studio on one of these lots?

    Bayside Expo Center closed because the new convention center took away all of its business. The owner had a plan to redevelop the property, but it didn't happen because of a foreclosure. It is big and cavernous and surrounded by undeveloped land.

    What about the whole Newmarket area?

    Near Albany St. and I-93; huge floor plates, warehouses that can be knocked down, easy highway access, and one of the few places that explicitly doesn't want residential development. I think the old Boston Ice Factory is still for sale for chump change...

    You forget

    Newmarket would be great but you forget about the activists at the Newmarket Neighborhood Association.

    You and I would see it as an improvement but I don't think they would.

    Love the locale though, right off Rt 93 and Mass Pike.

    no, I thought they'd like it

    Isn't their goal to make sure they can keep being industrial? They don't want residential construction, because eventually that would lead to neighbors who complain about nighttime noise, trucks, etc.

    A studio seems like a great fit. No?

    How about no where in

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    How about no where in Boston. Judging by the plan in Plymouth, these studio's are giant sprawling parking lots and 2 story sound stages. Keep them out of urban boston. There is no need for them here when there is plenty of space in the suburbs for sprawl.

    what about where they were looking

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    That part of Southie is good for it since it's a big sprawling space where lots of things can be put. It's safe enough. The space is not being used since all the developments have stalled.

    I really don't know why they built that jail on nashua street since mgh is around the corner. I went by the walking trail nice but wish it wasn't across from this jail.

    5oo Harrison is not better because there's nothing like a homeless shelter around the corner to make things safer...

    Why Menino Doesn't Deserve 4 More Years

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    It seems the posts on this thread accurately summarize numerous under-deveoped proerties in Boston. Many will claim this is a product of the downturn in the economy. The fact is, however, these properties have been vacant and, in some cases, wastelands since before the dot com boom. Mayor Menino's administration squandered the good times and we have taken it harder during the recession. Don't be fooled by his "I'm no silver-tongue" horseshit. He is an embarassment. We deserve better. Please vote-out Menino on Nov. 3rd.

    Put it in East Boston. On

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    Put it in East Boston. On Border Street near the mystic there's a ton of abandoned factory warehouses that could use a new life.

    Zoning and flooding

    I looked at that location for a recording studio (music, not film). It seems like it should be perfect, but a lot of those industrial buildings are in residential-only neighborhoods, and are grandfathered in. Replacing them would take a variance, and I'm not sure those variances are ever given (though I'm sure Hollywood money would help).

    Also, all that stuff west of Border St is in the flood zone. You'd have to spend a bunch on mitigation to build there.

    You are not thinking

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    Many of you are thinking way too short term. A movie studio in the center of Boston or in some neighborhood location? Not a good idea.

    If you put it in the Nicosia building/vacant power station in the "500 Block" of Harrison Avenue, where will all the cars go that depend on parking for those buildings? Nicosia's additional developments are being held up for a lack of parking. That is why they took down the Diemont-Levy building at the corner of Albany and Thayer. Not everyone can take public transportation. Some people actually drive. You want to tell the key grip that they have to bring their tools in on the Silver Line because there is not enough parking? "500 Block" - Where are you from? Nobody in Boston talks like that. Sounds like some call into a car on Cops as its going through some part of Phoenix. Its 536 Harrison by the way.

    Old warehouses is Southie? It may not look like it but most of those spaces are in use. Cities need these light industrial spaces on their periphery just like your house/apartment needs a space under the kitchen sink or a broom closet. They help support the overall running of the city.

    Behind the Garden? Waterfront land / Parkland for interior movie studios? Kinda stupid when you really think about it. The jail was built there as the result of a land swap between the State and MGH. That was a bad idea, but you want to put an industrial movie studio on the tight Spaulding site next to commuter rail tracks? You want to hold up a Tom Cruise shoot because the 4:35 to Haverhill is going by and messing up the soundloop? Do you have any idea how big a soundstudio has to be? It needs to be about the size of a 1980's Stop & Shop, with tall ceiling heights.

    Newmarket? Where are all the food companies going to relocate to? Guess where most of the food that you eat in the city outside of the chain restaurants and some of the supermarkets comes from? The produce area in Chelsea, the fish area along the SB waterfront, and Newmarket, with some other areas along Commercial Street in Malden. That's where. You say Newmarket like it is a wasteland. People work there, especially people who live near the area. You want to throw out hundreds of businesses to facilitate the making another crappy movie about Bulgere period Southie? If you relocate the food services operations of Boston to say, Wilmington, how will all those workers (some who cannot drive becuase of their immigration status) get there?

    The impact of the movie industry is growing in Boston, but many people forget you need these so called wastelands around the city keep it going. These city councilors may be a little glassy eyed after seeing Cameron Diaz from a few feet away in the past few weeks. Plymouth's plan is well along, Weymouth is a little behind and most likely not get done. I would like to see more effort put into gettting the guns out of the city before trying to offer tax credits so city councilors can pretend they are bit players in a Boston version of Entourage.

    Hey... John?

    I didn't say Newmarket like it was a wasteland. I didn't say relocate the food services.

    I say Newmarket like it's a place that has buildings for sale that seem to fit a studio's needs, and whose neighborhood vision would be well-protected by a studio use.

    Do you advocate effectively zoning Newmarket as "food services only"? Why is that better?


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    Newmarket needs to be there. I don't see a lot for sale that would enable a studio to be built.

    Plymouth Rock Studios as proposed is 1,200,000 SF. The South Bay Center is 540,000 SF (Retail). If Boston was to do a Plymouth Rock Studio size development you would need a land area the size of South Bay and the Nstar center across the way.

    These are industrial developments spread out like the Saint Gobain / Norton development in Worcester. You need areas for parking, trucks, storage, catering, sets, offices, sound stages, etc. Not just some barely 1 acre site that looks cool.

    It is not just one building. I'm sure you could take one warehouse and have one soundstage. Great for an independent film on a shoestring, but that is not a job developer, only a temp work development.

    I think people are just wishful thinking when it comes to this studio idea, not knowing what it actually takes to get the job done. You should see the amount of land planning went into the failed Postal Distribution Center proposal along Southampton on the T Police, Waldo Brothers, Moore Street sites that never got built. A proper studio would be much bigger than that development.

    There is a bumper sticker that says "No Farms No Food." There should also be one that says "No inner city distribution centers, no cheap immigrant labor and good access to highways and the city's core; your head of lettuce costs $9.00."

    Yes, I think Newmarket is worth keeping the way it is. By the way, I was in the Winston Flowers part of 160 Southampton before Winston bought it. It was a failed indepenedent movie studio.

    Oh, you mean a BIG studio...

    Plymouth Rock Studios as proposed is 1,200,000 SF. The South Bay Center is 540,000 SF (Retail). If Boston was to do a Plymouth Rock Studio size development you would need a land area the size of South Bay and the Nstar center across the way.


    I think people are just wishful thinking when it comes to this studio idea, not knowing what it actually takes to get the job done.

    Thanks - that puts it in perspective. Yes, I was thinking a single sound stage. And you're right; we need huge tracts of land.

    (That said, if anyone happens to want space for a small post facility, I know a guy building a high-end music studio in JP who'd love to sublet to you. Amazing acoustics and isolation.)

    I think a plymouth Rock

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    I think a plymouth Rock Studios size complex would not work in Boston, however, a smaller complex similar to some of the smaller-size studios in Hollywood, CA such as this one below...


    Another studio the size of Plymouth Rock would need to be done outside the city but there is plenty of room in Boston for TV studios (could be used for comedy shows, soap operas and game shows) or smaller movie studios.

    Many people think the Plymouth project is what every studios is like and while it's a fantastic model, the reason it's so big is because of it's location and purpose. However, Boston can fit several sound stages and smaller studios and while they can't be compared to Plymouth Rock Studios, they will still be a huge boost for the local economy.

    Forgive grammar

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    Forgive my grammar and spelling in my post. I am typing while watching the ALCS.

    BIG FAT EMPTY PROMISES, the Plymouth Rock Studio scandal.

    by: Craig Amabello

    Do you know what WE New Englanders need to do? We need to WAKE UP… and stop letting these HUSTLERS CON US with all this FAKE Hollywood Hype!

    Plymouth Rock Studios? David Kirkpatrick? Does Everybody out there remember the outcome of this BIG FAT EMPTY Promise? For those that have forgotten already… Let me please remind you…

    The big Hollywood east Shuffle blew into town years ago hyping itself to anyone and everyone that would listen…. David Kirkpatrick wowed them all with his Hollywood tales of Excess as an X Paramount head and his now… half a Billion dollar baby called Plymouth Rock Studios…

    This fiasco, this studio, at a projected cost of over $550 million dollars (Why so damn much money?… Why couldn’t it have been a $10 million dollar studio?… That still would have been plenty big enough to get a small chunk of people employed and been a thriving production enterprise)… This new creature also became known as: “Hollywood East”… (it’s all about BRANDING folks… This name and its meanings and implications are WRONG on so many levels, that I just can not get into here at this time).

    This Hollywood east dream… PROMISED to employ thousands of New Englanders… Remember kids… This whole thing first started with David Kirkpatrick’s idea of a Christian movie studio making ONLY Christian themed movies… David Kirkpatrick went so far as to actually appear on the 700 club and announce it was “a calling from god!”.

    Who is this mystery mogul David Kirkpatrick? How has he risen from the depths of the depraved city that we Los Angeleno’s like to call, “The city of Lost Angels”? And most importantly… how did he end up here in New England?

    David Kirkpatrick is an X-Hollywood player (kinda like me.. Only I made a few hundred thousand to his probably, hundred million, and I Directed a lot of Adult entertainment, while he produced MAJOR motion pictures… So I guess, NOT kinda like me at all)…

    BUT: that was then… This is now…

    NOW: David Kirkpatrick…

    Kirkpatrick Filed for Bankruptcy in 2006…
    Kirkpatrick Left a trail of Lawsuits and unpaid talent in Los Angeles...
    Kirkpatrick Lived at his mothers house in Worcester, BROKE... borrowing money to survive for the last several years...
    Kirkpatrick Changed his mind about doing a Christian themed movie making company… (Why?.. Because his financial backing changed? How do you suddenly forget God and being a born again Christian with a mission?… Can somebody please explain that?)…

    The company David Kirkpatrick finally ended up with to help finance this $550 million dollar beast… Prosperity International from Florida… Had a shaky background to say the least… The financier himself had gone thru bankruptcy and had former business partners that were jailed for bank fraud. Prosperity International has even outright lied on their involvement with other past projects that they claimed to have been involved in. They eventually bailed out of the game only a short while ago, just days before the contracts where all supposed to be finalized. Ironically? or just an outright lie? AFTER… the people from Plymouth Rock Studios posted a video of themselves all celebrating the deal having already going through!...

    People would say: Well this movie studio would be great for us… But would it? David Kirkpatrick was counting on $50 million in infrastructure funding from Massachusetts I-Cubed program… (you know folks… TAXPAYERS money!… YOUR MONEY!… Thankfully, this money never came in to be squandered by this nightmare studio project)...

    TODAY: David Kirkpatrick’s title has magically changed from Plymouth Rock Studio Chairman, to other studio officials basically saying that he has nothing to do with Plymouth Rock Studios, but will supply content for it in the future with his own separate company "Rock Entertainment". Pretty damn strange if you ask me. From the very beginning it was Kirkpatrick's name that was at the front of this Whole Project!...

    Kirkpatrick claims all is well… What the hell is he going to say at this point?…. Whoops, folks…. So sorry for my big, fat, empty promise? No one nows where this Hollywood east fiasco will actually end up… But I can tell you this...

    All Plymouth Rock Studios and David Kirkpatrick have managed to do after all these years is… SPEND over $10 million? to $17 million? in other peoples money with absolutely NOTHING to show for it...

    PRS had almost 30 employees... Why? What the hell were all these people doing but taking home nice, big, fat paychecks? Now PRS has laid off over half of them and are looking to downsize their offices. If there has been no studio as of yet, I still ask. What the hell did 30 people do 5 days a week, full time, for years on end?...

    The good people of New England have ALL been CHEAPENED by this process just a little bit by being robbed of their New Englanders innocence in this game of show biz… This Grand Hollywood Shuffle…
    Some of that magic was forever lost… when Mr Kirkpatrick blew into town with his TRUNK full of big FAT EMPTY PROMISES!...

    It really is to bad… because not everyone from Hollywood is a bad guy…. Now take me for instance folks… Allow me to introduce myself, for I am a man of wealth and taste… My name is….. Craig Amabello… hahahahahahahahahahaha...

    P.S All of my sources come from a 2007 New York times story and a 2009 Boston Globe story and various internet research on David Kirkpatrick and Plymouth Rock Studios that I did myself...

    Craig Amabello is an X-Hollywood Movie maker that spent 12 years working in Los Angeles California doing video production and Still Photography work for many various clients and corporations and is a long time N.H resident.