Studio Charlotte Meets with City economic development committee

March 7, 2014

UPDATE: March 14, 2014 - Bert Hesse, CEO of Studio Charlotte, had a meeting with a number of members of the Development Committee at the City of Charlotte this morning and the following occurred:

  • The City said that they had heard the residents many requests to have Studio Charlotte Development at Eastland Mall, loudly and clearly

  • The city requested that local community organizer, Tracy Thomas cancel the Rally on Monday March 17th at the Government Center at 4:30 pm and she has obliged. (Although she would very like the media's support in getting the word out that it IS cancelled so as not to inconvenience the many supporters who might not have heard this news yet.)

  • It was agreed to move ahead with negotiations and discussions between the City and Studio Charlotte, in good faith, to ensure that this project progresses ahead and stays on track for a successful outcome, for the benefit of the Eastside community and the city.

  • All efforts by all interested parties, will now be focused on the State legislature of NC to ensure that the tax incentive is retained for this purpose.

Charlotte, NC March 7, 2014 - Yesterday Studio Charlotte was told by the city's economic council that they would not extend the Memorandum of Understanding.  This is extremely disappointing, not only to the Studio, but to the residents of the east side looking forward to the economic growth, education, jobs and revenue, Studio Charlotte would bring to this neglected area of the city.

The media has led the public to believe that Studio Charlotte is dead. This could not be further from the truth.  Studio Charlotte is certainly not dead. Studio South LLC, holding company of Studio Charlotte, will be announcing very soon where this studio will be built and who will support it.  Other landowners are eager to do business with Studio South and their partners, locally, regionally and nationally.
President of Studio South Holdings LLC, Bert Hesse* said today, "It has become increasingly clear that the city is unable to work successfully with a project of this size and complexity in this particular industry.   It has also become evident that we no longer seem to be the only players on this field.  Ideas and proposals were submitted in good faith after the RFP was announced, with much expense incurred by us, which now appears to have been shared with "other" new arrivals on the scene, making it very difficult to have any faith in what they are sharing with other competitors.  Even with the current Memorandum of Understanding that Studio Charlotte has with the City until March 31st, we are not confident that this development can continue under these circumstances."
This situation is exacerbated by the City Council's repeated attempts to have Studio Charlotte divulge proprietary information. Our business relationships are our business advantage at this point. For this reason we are protecting those partners until we have a deal completed.   This has proven to be a good decision on our part with the City indicating that they will be "talking to other developers." Our existing business partnerships, which we have cultivated and secured - like our investors, our builders, our architects, our tenants, a very large national chain, our environmental engineers and our non-profit organization, will all be moving to a new location with us.  We have provided exhaustive details as the City requested, but this doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy them even though this project is viable, extremely well supported at this early stage, and backed by some of the largest players in the movie and ancillary industries. We are puzzled as to why the City insists on saying that we haven't given them enough on the project to take it seriously!"
Studio Charlotte requested a 5 month extension to get an important environmental study done on the site and to be assured the state film incentives are in place.  This was denied today, even though Studio Charlotte offered to pay for half of the cost of the study, on land owned by the city, not us. At the last business development meeting, the city had suggested an extension.  We do not know why that idea was good when it came from them, but denied when coming from us.  There are many mysteries which make us wary of releasing more information.
Studio Charlotte executive team are all residents of Charlotte and care deeply about the city. We were very excited about the enormous benefit that this development would have brought, especially to the Eastside of Charlotte, which has long suffered from a lack of investment and growth."
"Unless we can break this impasse with the City, we will have no alternative but to relocate the project elsewhere," said Hesse.
* Bert Hesse, is a local Charlotte businessman, and the visionary behind Studio Charlotte. He is the CEO of Studio South Holdings LLC, which is currently working on numerous other similar developments around the US.  Mr. Hesse was one of the original founders of the $38 million dollar US National Whitewater Center, a public/private development in Charlotte, NC. The center is now one of Charlotte's top tourist destinations and is an Olympic training facility for canoeing and kayaking.  Has over 25 years experience running companies with multi-million dollar budgets, including Orbitron International (a holding company with four subsidiaries, sold in 1990) and MedCorp of America (a regional health care company, sold in 1996).
Over the last twelve years Mr. Hesse has been in the film industry in the capacity of executive producer for numerous feature length films and documentaries.  His expertise with investors has proven invaluable, pursuant to fund raising activities. As Executive Producer, his last two feature films (Night Feeders and Cold Storage) Mr. Hesse oversaw all aspects of the projects including financial, legal issues and negotiating sales and distribution contracts (both domestically & internationally).
For more information on the Studio Charlotte project visit