The state's largest film production studio, featuring the world's largest sound stage, has officially opened for business today in Avastar Park in Walker, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids.
Hanger42 Studios, owned by a group of local investors, has invested $45 million into purchasing and renovating 450,000 square feet of the former Lear Corp. auto parts manufacturing plant at 2150 Alpine Ave. NW. The investors plan to turn the massive space into production-ready studios, office space and post-production suites.
"This is a project that has been in the works for quite some time and represents a true public-private sector partnership. We couldn't be more excited to now officially open for business and are very appreciative to the Michigan Film Office for all the support it has provided," said Joe Peters, a principal with Hanger42 Studios, in a release.
Hanger42 Studios bought the facility from John Buchanan, a partner in the local law firm Buchanan and Beckering, and Blue Bridge Ventures LLC CEO Jack Buchanan. They purchased the plant from Lear nearly four years ago, redeveloped the buildings and the property, and gained a Renaissance Zone designation for the site with help from local and state officials.
"The vision was always adaptive reuse for this building when my father and I purchased it in 2006, and it's rewarding to be able to collaborate with Joe to put this innovative project together," said Jack Buchanan, who studied film production in college and will serve as a consultant to the new enterprise.
"We've seen the early fruits of this with two films and I look forward to working with Hanger42 Studios in an advisory role. Based on the buzz and activity we've already created for the studio, I am highly optimistic about the future for Hanger42 Studios," he added.
Peters said they've hired Studio O+A, a San Francisco firm, to design the interior space with a
goal of eventually creating more than 50,000 square feet of production offices. A full range of concierge services, pre- and-post production space, a state-of-the-art screening room and ample office space will make up Hanger42 Studios.
"Hanger42 Studios concierge services will multiply the economic impact to the local West Michigan community and tie more companies, people and jobs to the growing film industry," said Peters, who expects up to 1,000 jobs to be created in the studio's first three years.