October 3, 2012

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Granite High Becoming Film, TV Studio

Di Lewis

October 3, 2012

The former Granite High Campus is being developed as a film and TV production studio, through a $40 million investment.

A joint venture between Woodbury Corporation and Redman Movies and Stories will renovate the campus and build four new buildings, including a sound stage, while keeping the historic buildings and cleaning up the outdoor areas. In addition to making the campus available for film projects, office and retail space will be added.

South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood said she is excited to find a way to preserve the buildings and allow residents to use the campus, since the city couldn’t afford to buy and develop the buildings as a community center.

“The City of South Salt Lake is built out, so we’re really careful about our green space,” Wood said. “We know if we lose it, it won’t come back.”

The road to get there wasn’t easy. The city’s economic director, Randy Sant, worked to change Utah law. Previously Utah cities could only purchase surplus properties for community facilities. Sant worked with Sen. Ben McAdams to change the law to allow any Utah city to purchase surplus properties for economic development purposes.

Redman President Bryan Clifton said he has been looking for a location to build a production studio in Utah for more than a decade and the Granite campus ended up being the best place.

The school has already served as a film location, but the new buildings and renovations will make it much more attractive to entertainment companies. Renovations and filming will begin immediately, with new construction starting in 2013, Clifton said.

“Welcome to our partners. Welcome to a new day for South Salt Lake. Welcome to the understanding that fairytales don’t always just happen in movies,” said Wood, an alumnus of Granite High.

Clifton estimated the new development has the potential to employ 1,000 people.

Wood said of those, about 100 will be permanent, full-time jobs. The people coming to use the campus will provide even more indirect employment through nearby business development to serve the new production studio. She said the city is also happy to have the property developed into something to bring in tax money.

Of the $40 million investment, $8.5 million is the purchase price, renovation and restoration will be between $6 and $8 million, and new construction will be between $23 and $25 million, Clifton said.

His excitement over the development is not just about the particular location. Clifton believes it will be raise property values and otherwise help the city. Residents will continue to be able to use the green space, he said.

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