Touring bands, film crews and Broadway stars may be making a pit stop in Wilmington late next year, when an $8 million soundstage opens on the 7th Street Peninsula.
City officials on Friday announced plans for the Pine Box, to be built by New Castle-based Light Action Productions on 10 acres of land.
The 25,000-square-foot soundstage will be 95 feet tall and lit up at night.
It will be rented out to music acts, theater productions and film crews, which can use the space to build sets, practice performances and test out sound and lighting before taking a show to a theater or on the road. The building will also include video and lighting studios and office space.
Light Action owner Scott Humphrey said the space will be similar to Rock Lititz, a studio that opened in a small town near Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2014 where artists such as Taylor Swift and Elton John have rehearsed before tours.
The Pine Box will be smaller than that venue but Humphrey said he hopes Wilmington’s proximity to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. will attract a similar clientele.
Mayor Mike Purzycki helped Light Action owner Scott Humphrey find the land for the project. Purzycki praised the project in a news release and thanked Humphrey for bringing the company to Wilmington.
“We wanted to do everything we could to make the site attractive,” Purzycki said in the release, “but there was no particular assistance from us other than the commitment that we will improve road access at the site.”
The chunk of land making up the Seventh Street Peninsula, bounded by the Brandywine and Christina Rivers, is populated by a handful of auto shops, offices and a radio station. More than a decade ago, developers hoped that land could be turned into casinos, but the controversial plans were shot down by state legislators.
Humphrey bought 20 acres of empty land and said he sees the area becoming a different kind of Wilmington destination.
Only half the land will be used for the soundstage; Humphrey could bring in other entertainment production-related businesses for the remaining 10 acres. He’s also considering bringing a restaurant and bar or a hotel to the area.
“When you bring in, say, a film or any sort of production, people are spending money in our city,” he said.
Humphrey hopes to break ground next month, once permits are approved, and open the stage late next year.
Original Post from Delaware Online