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MJM Development to Purchase Devens Land for State-of-the-Art Film and Television Studios

July 22, 2011

Kelsey Abbruzzese, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Mike Meyers

The MassDevelopment Board of Directors authorized its staff at its July 14, 2011 Board Meeting to negotiate and enter into an agreement for the sale of land in Devens to MJM Development, LLC of Andover. The company plans to build a state-of-the-art film and television studio complex suitable for feature and documentary films, television programs, and commercials. The facility will be built in three phases over 10 years. The studio campus will be located on Lots 13 and 14, a 28-acre signature site along Jackson Road, the main access road in Devens.

The first phase is anticipated to include four 18,000-square-foot Hollywood-style sound stages, production support offices, mill, storage building, and sound stage support areas for a total of 126,000 square feet at a cost of $30 million. At full build-out, the project will include more than 600,000 square feet with eight sound stages at a cost of $104 million. MJM Development expects the full project to generate 800 to 1,000 jobs.

MJM Development is a Massachusetts development company specifically incorporated for the turn-key development of the studio complex. The company represents a small group of private Massachusetts real estate developers and equity investors. MJM Development has assembled a seasoned team that includes experienced Hollywood film industry consultants, studio operators, and designers with strong Massachusetts affiliations.

The project responds to the demand for Massachusetts-based production facilities following the introduction of the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit.

“We are delighted to work with MassDevelopment to further the growth and prosperity of the Massachusetts film industry. We look forward to helping build the film industry within the Commonwealth and increase economic activity in Devens. We have a long road to travel as we start our due diligence, engineering, and permitting. With our project fully funded through private equity, we are hopeful that we will have our red carpet out by late 2012,” said MJM Managing Director Mike Meyers.

“Devens continues to power the north-central Massachusetts economy, and we hope soon to welcome MJM Development as the newest member of the Devens community,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Patrick-Murray Administration and MJM to keep film production in Massachusetts past the initial stage and bring well-paid jobs to the Commonwealth.”

The MassDevelopment Board of Directors also authorized a tax increment financing (TIF) agreement that will reduce the company's local property tax on the improvements that it makes. The TIF will be applied proportionately to each phase of the project based upon the taxable value of each phase. The TIF will reduce the estimated taxes due over 20 years by slightly more than 20 percent. The company must operate the facility and maintain at least 70 percent of its projected employees to keep the TIF. The studio entity itself will create 30 to 44 maintenance and management positions. The greatest job creation will occur as the sound stages are leased to production companies. The project is expected to generate more than 300 jobs during the first phase with additional job creation as the subsequent phases are built out and leased.

The project will create a one-stop, full service shop for film making needs with the intended goal of sustaining and growing the movie business in Massachusetts. MJM Development anticipates that the studios will stimulate economic activity in the communities surrounding Devens. The industry relies on caterers, florists, vehicle rentals, laundry, carpenters, electricians, home goods, lumberyards, lodging, and an assortment of other services. These off-site services will translate to additional employment opportunities.

Located in north central Massachusetts and managed by MassDevelopment, Devens is home to more than 75 businesses employing more than 2,750 people. Created by statute in 1993 to support business growth and attract economic development opportunities in the region, the 4,400-acre site features fast-track permitting and other incentives for businesses. The former military installation is recognized today as a national model for military base redevelopment. Along with its business tenants, the Devens community also includes more than 2,100 acres of recreation and open space, private residences, schools, and a network of human and social services providers. Together these organizations and amenities attract more than 150,000 visitors to Devens annually.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2010, MassDevelopment financed or managed 238 projects in 104 communities across the state generating investment of nearly $1.4 billion in the Massachusetts economy.