Developer ‘chomping at the bit’ to start building film $164 million studio in Fort Lauderdale

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Florida Construction News staff writer

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission has approved a plan to build a $164 million film studio on a 61-acre parcel of land – the site of the former Wingate incinerator.

The Fort Lauderdale Studio Initiative is a joint project with developer Michael Ullian and Los Angeles Center Studios. Ullian specializes in redeveloping brownfield sites.

“We are really chomping at the bit to get moving with construction,” John Milledge, a spokesman for the project said at the commission meeting. “We’re pretty far along with the design so we’ll be meeting in the near future with the city manager . . . about the final design which I think you’ll be very impressed with.”

Fort Lauderdale Studio Initiative LLC will develop, build, operate, and maintain the 350,000-square-foot movie studio complex

“If we aren’t educating this area on how they can magnify the industry down here, then anyone we’ve invited to come here and make a movie is not coming back,” Director D.J. Viola said at the commission meeting. “Building the buildings is not enough. It’s filling it with the gear and filling it with the crew.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and be completed in just over a year. Environmental remediations must be completed at the site prior to construction.

The project is a joint venture with developer Michael Ullian and Christopher Ursitti, a partner at Los Angeles Center Studios.

Ullian, has experience in brownfield redevelopment including serving as a principal on development of the Midtown Miami shopping area.

Developers expect 70 percent of the $164 million project to be funded by loans and 30 percent by equity.

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