Big Savannah area movie complex plans chopped

Dreamy plans to build the nation’s largest movie-making complex near Savannah have been slashed, after two years of delays.

The 1,560-acre “Studioplex” planned by Moon River Studios on public land has been reduced to 51 acres under a revised agreement with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, according to BusinessInSavannah.com. The project, which was initially unveiled two years ago under the name Medient Studios, was supposed to lead to a bounty of jobs, an assembly line of movie productions, sprawling production facilities, hotels, shops, recreation areas, walking trails and a concert amphitheater.

Plans for a big movie studio complex near Savannah are being promoted by Jake Shapiro, the chairman of a small company called FONU2. SPECIAL

Plans for a big movie studio complex near Savannah were promoted by Jake Shapiro, the chairman of a small company called FONU2. SPECIAL

But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailed serious questions about the project and the long-term financial viability of Moon River’s tiny parent, FONU2.

FONU2’s now chairman, Jake Shapiro, once boasted to reporters that, “We like to say, ‘We’re going to do to Hollywood what the Japanese did to Detroit.'”

Now, FONU2 said it has worked out a deal to pay Effingham’s local development authority a sharply lowered annual lease payment for a smaller swath of land, though it will have some access to the entire site to shoot movies, according to the company’s web site.

“Nobody is entirely happy with it,” development authority chief executive John Henry said of the compromise, according to BusinessInSavannah.com. “We’re trying to move forward in good faith.”

But the news site quoted Shapiro as saying he is “extremely happy” with the new deal.

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