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Villa Muse Studios, A $1.5 Billion Complex Including Videogame Development

by Rainier on April 16, 2007 @ 2:35 p.m. PDT

Authorities in Texas are building Villa Muse, a $1.5 billion mixed-use development including residential, retail and commercial spaces anchored by the $125-million, 200-acre Villa Muse Studios, developed for the film, television, advertising, music and videogame industries.

Phase one, to be open by the end of 2008, will include a variety of soundstages, including the largest purpose-built soundstage in North America (50,000 square feet), a scoring stage, recording studios, and an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of over 70,000. VILLA MUSE executives estimate that the overall project will generate roughly 8,000 new jobs upon completion and will create capacity for 8,500 residents.

The announcement coincides with the recent vote by the Texas House of Representatives on House Bill 1634, authored by Dukes and sponsored by Deuell, providing state-funded incentives for film and television production. (The VILLA MUSE project will not receive funds appropriated by HB 1634.)

"I am very excited about the VILLA MUSE project and the many projects sure to come to Texas in the future as a result of our work this session on House Bill 1634, the incentives program for the film industry," Rep. Dukes said. "Neighboring states and foreign cities like Toronto are aggressively working to lure Texas filming opportunities away from the state. House Bill 1634 will level the playing field for our state in comparison to other film venues. We have made a grand investment in the future of Texas."

"Providing incentives for the film industry will create new jobs and enhance the role of Texas as a national leader in television and film production. The VILLA MUSE project is a textbook example of how the government can effectively use state-funded incentives to promote private industry for the public good," said Senator Deuell.

Located just off of the SH130 corridor, 15 minutes east of downtown Austin, VILLA MUSE will be an innovative 681-acre development anchored by the 200-acre Villa Muse Studios -- a professional campus for the creative industries offering high-end production and post-production facilities for film, television, commercials, music and videogames that will include soundstages, recording studios, an amphitheater, areas for backlots and the largest outdoor water tank for film production in the U.S.

"VILLA MUSE will address the needs of our thriving creative industries in Texas, while attracting business that has been out of reach and forced to go elsewhere," Jay Aaron Podolnick, founder and CEO of VILLA MUSE, said. "Meanwhile, VILLA MUSE will give Texas a centralized location where creative talent can come together to cross-pollinate and communicate in a uniquely innovative environment. And true to its name, it will be a place to live, work and be inspired."

A master-planned residential community will orbit the studio campus. Designed to serve as a living, breathing backlot, neighborhoods will be built in an array of styles to meet a variety of filming needs. Ranging from New York brownstones to Craftsman bungalows to manors and estates, these residences will be open for sale to the public.

"VILLA MUSE will provide infrastructure on par with the finest facilities in the world at a highly competitive cost," said Paul Alvarado-Dykstra, vice president of strategic development. "VILLA MUSE will give creative professionals everything they need to live and work in one area without sacrifice or compromise."

The entrance to Villa Muse Studios will be located at the end of a broad boulevard lined with retail, office, residential and hospitality spaces. Situated at the other end of the boulevard will be a large public park and five to six mixed-use buildings -- with retail on the ground floor and office spaces above.

To date, the team has finalized an initial project plan, utilizing a number of cities, streets and places around the world for inspiration. VILLA MUSE has secured phase one funding, and, in partnership with Carpenter & Associates -- a leading real estate development, brokerage and investment firm -- has secured the land for the project.

VILLA MUSE is led by Founder and CEO Podolnick -- a producer/engineer who founded Texas' first 24-track recording facility in 1972, helping give birth to the Austin music scene. Podolnick has worked with such artists as Marianne Faithfull, Eric Johnson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Christopher Cross, Dan Hartman, Stephen Doster and The Electomagnets, and has worked in some of the world's most famous studios such as Power Station, New York; Air Studios, London; Electric Lady, New York; and Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles.

The VILLA MUSE team includes:

  • Rupert Neve, chief technology office -- a leading expert in the field on audio equipment design who was named "Man of the Century" by Studio Sound Magazine and was awarded a GRAMMY® for Lifetime Technical Achievement by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences;
  • Tom Copeland, senior vice president of film studio operations - served as director of the Texas Film Commission from 1995 to 2005, and teaches "The Business of Film" at Texas State University;
    Bob Walters, senior vice president of recording studio operations - creator of Power Station Studios in New York, which was voted top recording studio for six consecutive years by Mix Magazine;
  • Paul Alvarado-Dykstra, vice president of strategic development -- a producer mentored by acclaimed filmmakers Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy) and Tim McCanlies (Secondhand Lions, The Iron Giant), Emmy®- nominated TV producer Scott Carter (Politically Incorrect) and Oscar®-nominated documentarian Francis Reid; co-founder of Fantastic Fest, Austin's international sci-fi, horror, fantasy and animation film festival, as well as Ain't It Cool, Inc.;
  • Hiten Patel, financial consultant - recently served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for the Children's Place Retails Stores, Inc. (a Fortune 400 Company.) Previously, Patel served as the director of strategy and business planning for Dell Computer Corporation's Enterprise Systems Group and as an investment banker with Credit Suisse First Boston.

In addition, the VILLA MUSE design team includes:

  • Steve Durr, Steve Durr Designs - one of the leading acoustical and audio facilities designers in the world whose clients have included Lenny Kravitz, Neil Young and Disney/MGM Studios in Orlando, among others;
  • Studio Bau:ton - a company specializing in the design and construction of buildings with unique requirements for acoustic performance and media technology with clients including 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles, Sony Music Entertainment in Japan and Disneyland Paris, to name a few;
  • Sam Toyoshima, Acoustics Design Office - founded Acoustics Design Office in 1975 as a division of JVC's Audio Engineering Research Center, which has been responsible for the design of more than 100 of Japan's premiere studios, and more than 50 studios worldwide, with clients including Abbey Road Studios in London, JVC Studios in Japan, Enya Studio in Dublin, Beijing Studio Complex, and more;
  • Land Design Studio - a full-service planning and design team based in Austin with experience ranging from master-planned residential communities to complex downtown revitalizations.

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