CHARLOTTE, NC (WECT) - Charlotte city council voted to spend nearly $14 million to buy an old mall property in East Charlotte Monday night, with the goal of building a movie studio and sound stage.
Leaders said it could mean more competition for Wilmington, also known as Hollywood East. But, Rep. Danny McComas said state film incentives were created for a reason and that it will only add to the entire state.
"I think it would be short-sighted for us to think that it would be hurting Wilmington. So, let's go ahead and do it for the whole state. So let's hope Charlotte gets a studio too to add to what we've got here."
McComas said once state lawmakers see the success, they'll rally for another film incentives extension. This all comes after a very busy summer for film production in the Wilmington area.
"I'm very happy. I'm ecstatic. I've had people come to me and say thank you," said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.
Local businesses are also cashing in on the productions. Angela Matthews owns Premiere Lighting in Wilmington, and she was lucky enough to have the crew of Iron Man 3 as a customer.
"We are embracing them as well as we have as a community, and we have had people stop in because of the Iron Man on our sign outside," Matthews said.
Now, she wants to know just how long the movie buzz can stay in the Wilmington area.
"Naturally it is a concern," she said. "We would love to see them stay in Wilmington. I think everyone wants that, but if they have to move, at least it stays in North Carolina."
If the old mall in Charlotte is converted into a movie studio, it would create more competition for southeastern, North Carolina.
"There's going to be certain things shot here, certain things shot there. I think it's good because it gives our state more resources to be able to be used," Saffo said.
Saffo said he's giving the thumbs-up to building in Charlotte because ultimately it makes North Carolina more desirable to shoot productions in.
"We do have productions that come to town and need a skyline so they do go film in Charlotte or Raleigh. So, I think it's great for the entire state," Saffo said.
Wilmington Regional Film Commission director Johnny Griffin said a lot of things play into a production's decision to shoot where it does. He said that includes what the finished product would look like if a mall was turned into a studio.
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