SOUTH SALT LAKE — A venerable local landmark that used to prepare young people for the realities of life has found a new calling in the world of make-believe.
South Salt Lake city officials announced Tuesday that the former Granite High School campus will be developed into a motion picture and television production facility.
The public-private partnership will include a $40 million investment in the current campus buildings and eventually provide up to 1,000 jobs — including full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary employment — over the course of the development and implementation of the project, officials said.
"We feel like this will raise the value of property in the area and make life more interesting and enjoyable in this area," said Bryan Clifton, owner of Salt Lake City-based Redman Movies and Stories. "We're excited about working to revitalize the industry … and provide opportunities where kids can get their first experience or internship on a movie."
The project also is expected to act as a catalyst for future investment and economic development in the community surrounding the landmark site, Clifton said. The project will be an economic stimulus to the city and the state while retaining the classic character of the campus, he said.
Along with the developer, Woodbury Corp., Redman Movies and Stories formed a joint venture that will renovate the historic Granite High School buildings to be used as settings in future films by constructing 90,000 square feet of new motion picture sound stages, along with office and retail space for the entertainment industry.
The project also will use the existing green space on the nearly 27-acre campus for both indoor and outdoor onsite film production.
The Utah Motion Picture Incentive Program helped the Woodbury-Redman partnership solidify the business plan by offering a post-performance incentive — up to 25 percent — for the project. The program is designed for motion picture and television production companies interested in filming in Utah.
Woodbury Corp. researched exact costs on the building improvements and in its proposal to the city. Together, Woodbury Corp. and Redman Movies and Stories will invest $8.45 million on the property purchase, up to $6 million in restoring existing buildings and another $25 million to construct future sound stages, office space, restaurants and retail buildings, Clifton said.
Cleanup and renovation will begin immediately, and major construction will begin in spring 2013, according to Jeff Woodbury, vice president of development for Woodbury Corp.
"To build the facility will take 12 months," Woodbury said. "It's probably 18 months out before the big sound stage is created."
In the meantime, several productions will be scheduled inside the main campus building, with the gymnasiums converted into temporary sound stages, he said.
South Salt Lake economic development director Randy Sant said the project would help revamp an area of the city that is in need of a boost.
"It takes a building that has never been on the tax rolls and puts it on the tax rolls," Sant said. "It (also) brings new development that will complement the Granite campus project. It's an opportunity for the surrounding area to improve, too."