The plans for the largest movie studio complex in North America took a small but necessary step Wednesday evening.
The Effingham Industrial Development Authority approved a bid from Pinco to drill a well on the north side of its I-16 property — the site of the Medient Studios’ complex. The well will provide water for the site and construction of the first phase. Shore Development and Construction will build the studio, including its offices, soundstages, housing and entertainment venues.
The bid for $797,937 was good through Wednesday. Bids were sought initially a few months ago, but the IDA held off on awarding the contract until it had a better grasp on Medient’s plans for the first phase.
IDA CEO John Henry said the cost of pumps has soared, and the low bidder was hesitant to hold the bid at that price for much longer.
“We need that well built,” he said.
C.J. Chance of Hussey, Gay, Bell and DeYoung said the contractor gave a 30-day extension on the bid price, and Pinco then was asked to hold it for another two weeks. He said his firm has worked with Pinco numerous times.
“Having the low bidder you have is a good thing,” he said. “We have a lot of experience with them.”
Chance said it will take about 10 days for the contract to get back from the contractor, and Pinco will have 10 days to start work once the IDA executes the contract. Once Pinco starts work, it will have 280 days to finish the job.
The IDA, through a series of agreements, has 150,000 gallons of water per day for its I-16 tracts. The plan has been to sink a well on the north side, since that tract is larger and would have either larger or more users.
“It will supply as much as you need,” IDA project manager Matt Morris said.
While the well will serve the initial needs for the Medient studios and complex, there is the possibility the county’s water line could be extended to the site for future water demands.
“But we’ve got to have the well down there regardless,” Henry said.