Medient Studios pitches new plans to Effingham County IDA - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Medient Studios pitches new plans to Effingham County IDA


Medient studios executives are making a push to hang on to their agreement to build a movie studio complex in Effingham County.

It's been a a year since ground was broken on the studio complex, but nothing has been built on that tract off Old River Road, owned by the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority.

Medient executives Tuesday pitched a revised plan for the tract to the authority.

The plan includes 15 sound stages, a tram, an amphitheater, soccer fields, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a community fire station, a hotel, retail and office parks and a solar farm.

What was notably missing from Tuesday's discussion was how Medient executives plan to pay for their plan. 

Joe Maner invested $1,000 in Medient. He lives near the proposed movie studio and was excited about the project, but now he's questioning Medient's plans.

"I don't trust them," he said. "My $1,000 investment was worth about eight dollars."

Investors aren't the only Effingham residents who have lost money on Medient. The county's property tax dollars fund the authority, which has so far spent $217,000 on the Medient project.

So far, the authority have spent $5,000 on meetings and meals for Medient, $3,700 for travel, $29,000 for rent and repairs to an office in Savannahm $65,000 in attorney's fees, and $115,000 to the real estate broker who set up the Medient deal.

They also shelled out more than $12,000 for that groundbreaking that has yet to bring construction to this site and $37,500 in bonuses to the authority's staff for arranging the Medient deal.

Medient now is trading at .0003 cents a share, and a shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the company in Effingham County Superior Court.

The authority plans to hold weekly meetings with Medient executives to create a new development agreement.

"I think we outlined a very strong plan in a very strategic manner," said Medient CEO Jake Shapiro, who took control of the company in a June hostile takeover. "I feel confident as people watch and observe us, they may get whiplash, but they're going to see us executing everything we say."

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.
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