City officials in Stratford say they welcome the news that an old defense plant will get a new life as a studio complex.Â But they expect a hard road ahead for the developers.
New Haven based Hollywood East/Area 51 submitted the winning bid of $9.6 million for the property, which was auctioned off by the US Army.Â The 78 acre site, across the road from Sikorsky Memorial Airport has been vacant for 12 years, but most recently made engines for Army aircraft.Â Hollywood East has raised the full purchase price for the site, but must now raise more for environmental clean-up, which has been estimated at up to 80 million dollars, before development can begin.Â The company says its plans for the site include 30 soundstages, which would make it one of the largest studio complexes in the nation. Â
The site was previously the number two taxpayer in Stratford behind Sikorsky Aircraft, and Mayor James Miron says heâ€™s cautiously optimistic that the developerâ€™s plans will go forward.
"They were determined, they have indicated, and it appears to be well capitalized.Â They have the technical team in place which is as important as having the money.Â Having you know, a new industry there and jobs created and tax revenue to the town of Stratford is obviously something you know, a decade in the making â€“ weâ€™re excited about it."
Hollywood East has 180 days to reach a final agreement, and must submit a reuse and remediation plan to the state Department of Environmental Protection.