HIGH POINT — The city has apparently lost out on a potential $100 million film studio campus that could have brought 120 jobs to southwest High Point.
Local real estate representatives involved in the proposal said the organizers told them they were doing the project in Virginia, according to Mark Lindsay, a commercial Realtor in High Point.
Lindsay said he represented the owner of several properties on W. Green Drive that the Brittano Group-KNova Film Capital had under contract to purchase for a possible studio to produce movie and streaming network content.
“It was late November or early December when they pulled the plug,” Lindsay said. “I was told by the Brittanos that they had selected a site in Virginia, as opposed to here, and that it had something to do with casinos being built nearby. They just felt like it was something that would enhance what they were doing and draw more people.”
Julian Brittano and Karie Brittano, the husband-and-wife-team that was considering the project in High Point, could not be reached for comment.
A year ago Thursday, the City Council unanimously authorized up to $1.54 million in incentives for the project if it went forward in High Point, but organizers never announced they were going to do the project here and no money was ever paid out.
The Brittanos and a group of investors were considering developing a campus with sound stages, production offices and editing suites for the production of streaming content and other ventures.
The financing was to be through an opportunity zone fund, which provides tax benefits for investors who put money into a project in a distressed U.S. Census tract.
High Point was a contender for the project along with out-of-state locations.
If they had chosen High Point, organizers planned to invest up to $100 million and create 120 jobs, including a management team and positions in set construction and production, as well as jobs working with film, sound, lighting and craft services, according to information the city put out at the time of the incentives vote.
Their plan was to acquire part of the former Hayworth Roll & Panel Co. facility in the 600 block of W. Green Drive, as well as other south High Point properties.
Lindsay said the organizers had several buildings and empty lots under contract to purchase.
“They just dropped all of it. They said the powers that be told them to go to Virginia,” he said. “I think (the investors) were out of Atlanta. I met with them a couple times. They came up to review the buildings that were under contract and review the area and review High Point. But Brittano was always the spokesperson for them, and I haven’t heard from them since.”
They also had 300 Oak St. under contract, according to Larry Story, a commercial Realtor representing the owner of this 60,000-square-foot former Harriss & Covington Hosiery plant.
“They had a number of properties under contract they said they were going to buy,” Story said. “They had a grand plan for this whole production studio conglomerate. All I know is, they’re gone and they’ve up and disappeared.”
Lindsay said most of the properties that were previously under contract have since been sold to other buyers.
High Point Economic Development Director Sandy Dunbeck said the city has other business bright spots in the area where the studio project was proposed, including Hot Shots’ hot sauce distribution facility and Fitesa expanding its fabric-making plant.
“It’s always sad when projects like (the studio) don’t move forward, but we’re pleased to have a number of other great projects in that area,” she said.
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