Southern Utah's Apple Valley has appealed to folks looking for some solitude. Now it will be the home of a multimillion-dollar enterprise that its developers say could become a movie and TV production mecca.
Next Entertainment and affiliated companies Lone Wolf Productions Group and Imagic Technologies said Wednesday that the Sky of Dreams Ranch hailed as "a blend of arts, culture and nature" will be on 2,700 acres in Apple Valley, east of Hurricane in Washington County.
Company officials had first announced plans for the development during the Sundance Film Festival, but at the time said only that the ranch would be near St. George.
While construction on two sound stages could begin this fall and be ready by next spring, the full development could take five to 10 years. Plans include a resort hotel and spa, a golf course, a private jet park, an equestrian center, restaurants and retail, an amphitheater, a natural-healing center, a mustang preserve, a American Indian cultural center, a Southwest science center, a fresh- and saltwater aquatic center and a technology research campus. All elements will use earth-friendly themes and green technology.
"It's a learning center in addition to a film production facility, so it's a multi-use project that has a large vision," said Mac Adamson, an executive producer who is a principal of the ranch, along with Lee Steadman and Jan Myrick.
The production facilities will include a facilities for computer-generated imagery and post-production work, as well as a back lot with a Western street, small-town square and large-city square.
On a plateau overlooking Zion National Park, Sky of Dreams Ranch will have one sound stage devoted to a half-hour, syndicated TV series that will "teach the lessons of nature," Steadman said.
The other sound stage will be used initially for the "The Mystical World of Nebe" movie trilogy based on Adamson's novels that will have installments released annually beginning in the summer of 2009.
"This will be to fulfill our own needs for our own productions right now," Adamson said Wednesday after a news conference in Salt Lake City. "We will make it available for independent films and other productions based on usage and when we're not using the facility. But the primary purpose is using it for our own needs.
"Eventually down there, it could become a real film mecca," he said. The completion of the new St. George airport nearby will help make it attractive, with 45-minute flights from Los Angeles.
The development is a big thing for Apple Valley, a town incorporated in 2004 that now has about 650 residents. Mayor Mary Reep called the Sky of Dream Ranch "wonderful."
"What's really good about it is that everybody in our town moved out there for the beauty and the quiet and the serenity, and I think that's a lot of their focus, which is very unusual with developers, and we appreciate that very much," she said.
But will Apple Valley become Hollywood East?
"It would be fun if it were, but like with all projects, you have to wait until it's there to see how things will pan out," Reep said.
Shaun Heseltine of Builders Development Group and The Boardwalk Group will handle management and development of the project. Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate will handle project marketing, and Axis Architects will be the project architects."We're going to do this completely right," Steadman said. "This is one of the most exciting things that's ever been done for Utah."