Arizona production complex Desert Studios plans to break ground

Arizona recently passed a $125 million tax incentive program for film and TV productions to court Hollywood productions.

By Gabriella Geisinger 17 Apr 2023

Arizona production complex Desert Studios plans to break ground
Arizona, Cr: Gautier Salles

Desert Studios is planning to break ground this year on the first phase of a new full-service studio development project that will include 52 soundstages total on a 320-acre site in Buckeye, Arizona and will cost an estimated $900m. 

Desert Studios played a part in the recent passage of a $125 million tax incentive program for film and TV projects in Arizona. 

The first phase of construction will include 12 soundstages, 40,000 square feet each. Support facilities, including production offices connected to each stage building, will also be constructed.

The production hub will include editing/post-production, equipment rental, set construction, craft services and catering buildings along with a backlot as well as other production-related structures. The three next phases have plans for additional stages and support facilities.

The Buckeye airport is nearby, and Los Angeles is a four-hour drive, making the studio's location key. 

In 2025, Arizona will join the list of just a handful of other US states with nine-figure caps. Projects that shoot in Arizona are eligible for a refundable tax credit of 15 to 20 percent of expenses in addition to a 2.5 percent bump on labour costs for hiring Arizona residents, or if they’re a long-term tenant of a qualified production facility. 

Justin Davis, partner and general counsel for Desert Studios, says that the credit shows "Arizona has the right environment to support" the entertainment industry and "rounds out how the state can be competitive with others that have similar incentives." He adds that the program, specifically the soundstage component of the credit, was a “key component in our decision-making process."

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