JACKSON, MS — Mill Street Studios (MillStreetStudios.com), the vision of Monte and Charlotte Reeves, is expected to open in Q4 of 2023. The 5.5-acre MSS campus is being developed by Dallas-based architect Arnold Hernandez, who is converting massive silos and grain storage shelters into two 17,000-square-foot sound stages, along with two 6,000-square-foot studios. The campus will also feature more than 40 office suites, a commissary, café, equipment rental, screening rooms and set fabrication mills. An on-site boutique hotel is also being discussed with several hotel chains.
The property was once home to a former cottonseed oil mill that the Reeves purchased. Located less than a mile from Mississippi's State Capitol, the mill once employed hundreds of workers. And less than two miles from the MSS campus, the Mill Street Movie Ranch is being designed on 20 acres of raw land in a federally designated Opportunity Zone for exterior production locations. The city-owned cargo and private jet airport Hawkins Field is less than three miles away.
"The response from real estate developers and investors to our RFPs has been gratifying,” says Charlotte Reeves. “They all recognize the profit potential of this dramatic urban renaissance."
As part of the current design and engineering phase of the project, MSS is being developed as environmentally friendly. Its 216 average annual days of sunshine guarantee solar power as an energy source, supplemented by the electric grid. It's located on an elevated plain, which provides a natural barrier to flooding; and it's above an underground aquifer well to provide pure, sweet water to recycle for the many fountains and waterfalls planned for the property.
The studio expects to hire a full-time staff of over 250, providing job growth and an economic boost for the state capital and surrounding region. According to Nina Parikh, director of the Mississippi Film Office, "The addition of a production facility with multiple stages in central Mississippi would increase our ability to draw larger productions which have often located in surrounding states with established studios. Our cash rebate has been an exceptional recruitment tool, but infrastructure to support the industry is essential for continued growth. Mill Street Studios has the potential to meet this critical demand."
The MSS waitlist was launched October 1st and the first to sign up was Oscar-winning producer Gerald Molen (Schindler's List, Jurassic Park). Molen is currently preparing the southern romantic thriller Sweet By and By for Los Angeles-based Movicorp Media. In addition to producer Molen, the waiting list includes sign-ups by former CBS marketing exec Paul Friedman, currently planning the miniseries The Unexpected Danny Green, and CPA William Crim, former board member of Ridgeland, MS-based accounting firm GranthamPoole. Crim will provide on-site production accounting services and help producers qualify for Mississippi's rebate incentive programs.