$30 million movie studio project at Chaffee Crossing on hold

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 5,665 views 

Rendering of planned entrance to Spark Studios at Chaffee Crossing.

The land announced in December 2021 as the site for what was to be a $30 million movie studio at Chaffee Crossing is up for sale again, but plans for the studio are not dead, just on hold.

Lorie Robertson, director of marketing for the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, said 18.55 acres bordered by Wintergreen and Mahogany avenue in the southeast corner of Chaffee Crossing that the FCRA board of trustees approved to be sold to TGE Global Entertainment for $899,000 in December 2021 is listed as available for purchase.

“The movie studio never finalized their financing and the property was not sold to them,” Robertson said.

At the time the $30 million project was announced, TGE plans were to build a 92,000-square-foot facility with 45,000-square-feet of film and television studio space that would be called TGE Spark Studios, Jeff Smith, TGE chief financial officer, said at the time. The Los Angeles-based entertainment company announced in November 2021 it had a film about legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves under development as an authentic western with intentions to film most of it in the Fort Smith area.

Smith said Wednesday (June 28) the company is still interested in the movie studio project.

“A lot is relying on the state incentives,” Smith said. “There are just a few things that our investors are wanting.”

Smith said they were still looking at locating the studio in the Chaffee Crossing area.

At the time the studio was announced, conceptual designs for the facility, led by Nate Deason and Galen Hunter of MAHG Architecture of Fort Smith, called for incorporating natural elements with a modern feel.

The design incorporated six sound stages, office space for film production teams, a screening room to review footage, editing suites and space for a “back lot” to have controlled outdoor filming. A cafeteria for on-site productions would be supplied by local catering companies. An amphitheater and event space are also part of the conceptual plans to provide an additional option for public gatherings in the Fort Smith area, publicity information said.