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By Peter Shaller - email Posted by Rachel Leigh - email
PORT ST LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - New high tech jobs on the way to Port Saint Lucie thanks to a city council vote Monday night; however, the city had to sweeten the deal with tens of millions of dollars in incentives to get the movie studio to move in.
Even before the curtain goes up, the project is already getting mixed reviews.
Blockbuster movies, like '2012', 'Titanic', 'Transformers': The academy-award winning company behind these films could dream up the next big hit in Port St. Lucie.
Ed Cunningham with the city said, "This isn't for small projects. These are for major Hollywood pictures."
It took more than $50 million dollars in incentives, but movie-maker Wyndcrest is coming to town. The city says the deal was a no-brainer. "Because the alternative is to sit back and do nothing."
The city says the price tag will be partly paid for with grants from private developers with $20 million coming from state funding. The company promises to bring 500 jobs paying an average yearly salary of more than $60,000.
This area of tradition has the infrastructure, but other than that it's vacant. The city says the company will build on one of these empty parcels, but will these new jobs go to Port St. Lucie residents?
This taxpayer says no. "You'd have to have some type of background in animation videos, computers, and we don't really have that type of job pool here," said Steve Carroll.
And the city says this concerned citizen is right. It's unrealistic to think otherwise. "How many high end experienced digital movie graphics animators are there already living in Port Saint Lucie," Cunningham said.
So was the investment good for the city? "It does nothing for the people here," Carroll replied.
Cunningham stated, "We're hoping to turn us into a major factor in the research coast."
Fifteen people have already been hired for the new studio, so far, only two are from Port St. Lucie.