FORT SMITH, Ark. — Exciting news for the River Valley - TGE Global Entertainment, Inc. has selected Chaffee Crossing as a potential site for a new 20-acre movie studio.
In November, the Los Angeles-basted entertainment company announced it was producing a film about legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, with intentions to film most of the project in the Fort Smith region.
The facility will be named TGE Spark Studios. TGE Chief Financial Officer J. Michael Smith says the name was derived from George Sparks, the banker who built the New Theatre in downtown Fort Smith.
"We want to follow in the footsteps of this giant who once also believed in Fort Smith as an entertainment hub for the region," he said.
The project is estimated to cost $30 million, primarily consisting of new construction on 20 acres in the southeastern area of Chaffee Crossing. Plans also entail resorting some former Fort Chaffee quarters for film production offices.
Spark Studio in Chaffee Crossing render images
Chaffee Crossing leaders hope a movie studio will bolster already booming growth in the region.
"A film studio is a wonderful trigger to develop a creative ecosystem in our region," Daniel Mann, CEO of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA), said.
Michael Smith says the studio could be an estimated $32 million in annual economic impact for the Fort Smith Community, along with hundreds of jobs.
“The numbers are purposefully conservative as we are awaiting final projections, but that’s the preliminary estimate we’ve been operating from,” Smith said. “The economic purpose for a studio like Spark Studios is not just to house our projects, but projects from other production companies with a desire to film in Arkansas. And obviously, we believe there are plenty of reasons to film in the Arkansas and Oklahoma region.
It's unclear when plans will move ahead on the 20-acre lot, but it is mustering up much excitement for locals.
Stick with 5NEWS as more information about the project is released.