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IDA clearing way for new lease with studioplex
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The Effingham Industrial Development Authority has taken one of the steps needed to go forward with a reworked Moon River Studios deal.

The IDA has terminated the old deal and the bonds issued to the studios for its project off Interstate 16 and Old River Road. Those moves were necessary in order to enter into an interim lease and issue new bonds, if the IDA sees satisfactory progress during the interim lease.

“It is all part of the reworked deal,” Effingham IDA John Henry said.

The drafts of the lease are ready, IDA attorney Ted Carellas said at the Dec. 17 meeting.

What was once a lease for the entire 1,560 acres of the IDA’s northern tract along I-16 will be reduced to 51 acres. An October agreement between the IDA and the studio also canceled the existing memorandum of understanding and supplemental agreement. Under the new terms, Moon River will build 10 stages, four warehouses, support buildings and offices. Lease payments are cut from $555,000 annually to $51,000 per year, and the studio will have to make a capital investment of $10 million over five years.

Under the previous agreements, the IDA approved a $300 million bond package, with the company paying a total of $10 million for the entire 1,560 acres. The company’s initial investment goals were $90 million or 1,000 jobs created before the end of the fifth year.
Effingham County commissioners approved the studio’s master plan in July.

Henry also said he has been working with C.J. Chance of Hussey, Gay and Bell on the road construction at Moon River Studios.

Moon River Studios’ filing of its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission is being delayed because the auditors need more time to finish their work on the company’s financial statements. According to a Dec. 30 SEC filing, the audit’s start was delayed because the company did not have sufficient funds to pay the auditing firm.