The New Orleans City Council cleared the way Tuesday (Dec. 1) for Deep South Studios to begin building in Algiers a project billed as the largest movie-making complex between Atlanta and Albuquerque, N.M.
"It's going to be a major impact in Algiers and in the city," Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey said. "We're excited about the jobs that it's going to bring, and the opportunities for the neighborhood for further development along that area."
The 6-0 vote — Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell was absent — follows the unanimous vote of the City Planning Commission to allow developer Scott Niemeyer to start the 254,000-square-foot project's first phase: A campus bordered by Mardi Gras Boulevard, Thayer Street, Lamarque Street and Atlantic Avenue.
Another adjacent campus that would extend toward Semmes Street on the upriver side of the Crescent City Connection would have to be approved at a later date, city planner Stephen Kroll said.
The project, which is expected to cost $63.5 million, met with no opposition. Only Paul Sider, who runs a neighboring daycare, expressed worry Tuesday over who would cut the grass between his property and a fence around the studio. The council answered that by waiving a need for a setback, allowing Niemeyer to build the fence right against his neighbors' properties.
The success of the studio will be balanced on the future of New Orleans' movie investment tax credit program.