Recycling plant set to become film studio

By Linda Lou
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

Plans to turn a former trash-recycling plant in southwest San Marcos into a TV and film studio are back. The interior of the trash-recycling plant in San Marcos may soon house film and TV production facilities. The 190,000-square-foot county plant was closed in 1995 after it became too expensive to operate. In 2004, the City Council approved plans to convert the 15-acre site into a film and TV production facility. It also changed its land-use zoning from solid waste to “movie studio and light-industrial.” But a deal to move forward on the proposed project fell through, and the project appeared to be dead.On Wednesday, however, the county Board of Supervisors approved a request from a new property owner to change deed restrictions on the site. They had allowed uses related to solid waste, but county staff members have determined that film production is an appropriate use.

John Bailey, the project manager for the new owner, said there are big improvements ahead. He said six to 10 studio soundstages will be built and the entire building soundproofed. Fiber-optic cables will be installed, he said, and there are plans to transform the building into a state-of-the-art facility that would allow both pre-and post-production work.

Renovations inside the building are expected to start within six months, Bailey said. Currently, architects are drawing designs, but exterior work, such as installing a traffic light, has begun, he said. Bailey said he is negotiating contracts with a few production companies. How quickly stages get built would be determined by the production companies he signs with, he said. Relations with the city of San Marcos have been cooperative, and final agreements are close to being worked out, Bailey said.

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