Regal Mile Studios Breaks Ground on South Chicago Avenue
By Tia Carol Jones
The Regal Mile Studios Campus 1, a 380,000 square foot, seven-acre media campus and soundstage, is set for South Chicago Avenue, west of Stony Island. On Monday, Feb. 6th, there was a groundbreaking for Regal Mile Studios. The project is sponsored by Loop Capital Real Estate Partners and includes a $100 million investment for the privately funded project.
“It has been a long-held dream of mine to help energize the entertainment industry in my hometown and right in the neighborhood I grew up in. The community support has been tremendous,” Derek Dudley, Producer of Showtime’s “The Chi” and Regal Mile Studios partner, said in a release.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged that Chicago’s creative economy is what sets the city apart. “We’ve got people in every facet of the industry, both in front of and behind the camera, creating art and music, all of the above. There’s no place else on the planet like the city of Chicago when it comes to our creatives,” she said, adding that continued investment in the city’s creative industry is imperative to its success.
Lightfoot acknowledged the city changed the way it funded its creative economy. According to her, the city took money from the corporate funds and put it into arts and cultural organizations. Lightfoot, during her speech, talked about the positive impacts the studio campus would have for the community and the entire city.
The Regal Mile Studios will provide new educational opportunities and job readiness training. The goal is that when people come out of the training, they will have the opportunity to go into jobs in the industry. Students also will have the opportunity to gain skills that will get them ready for careers in the film and television industry.
“We are rebuilding the Middle Class here in Chicago in Black and Brown Chicago, which is incredibly important,” Lightfoot said, adding that with Regal Mile Studios, Chicago is expanding its capacity to produce high quality authentic screen entertainment, while providing opportunities for Chicago residents.
Lightfoot said there is a projected film production revenue of more than $700 million. She added, the addition of Regal Mile Studios would substantially impact and improve those numbers.
“I’m truly excited to finally see this development come to life. I remember (3 years ago) getting the call from my neighbor Dr. Hines (Common’s mother) asking me to help with a dream her son’s childhood friend and business manager Derek Dudley had for a movie studio on the south side. A few days later I reached out to the owners of the old Sears property on 79th and set a walkthrough and after multiple visits with architects, the property ultimately wouldn’t work out. After years of looking at several sites, the Regal Mile team settled on the 8-acre site on 78th and South Chicago. It’s been a journey but, the positive impact a project like this will have on our community will be immense!,” said 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris.
Jim Reynolds, the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loop Capital, reminisced about the economic vibrancy of the Black community. He thanked the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, Michael Fassnacht, of World Business Chicago, 8th Alderman Michelle Harris and 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston, Illinois State Senator Elgie Sims and Illinois State Representative Marcus Evans.
“A project like this can’t happen without a lot of support, especially in this city. Because you have to build coalitions or else the people will shut it down,” he said. Reynolds talked about how the Regal Mile Studios would revitalize the community and bring back hope.
“These studios are going to be here, this investment is going to be here, it’s going to employ people from the community … and it’s going to train young people from the high schools here,” Reynolds said.
The aim is for construction to begin this year, with occupancy beginning Fall 2024.
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