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Dallas Seeks Texas Film Commission Designation

South Side Studios in Dallas, Texas. | Image by South Side Studios
South Side Studios in Dallas, Texas. | Image by South Side Studios

The City of Dallas will become a Media Production Development Zone if its application to the Texas Film Commission is approved after council members agreed to apply for the designation last week.

Created by the Texas Legislature in 2009, the Media Production Development Zone Act is “designed to encourage the further development of permanent moving image production sites to strengthen Texas’ economy,” providing sales and use tax exemptions for construction, expansion, improvement, renovation, or maintenance of media production sites.

Under the law, a media production site must be approved as a “qualified media production location.”

The Dallas City Council approved a resolution last Wednesday designating South Side Studios Dallas at 2901 Botham Jean Blvd. as such a location.

That property “is an existing converted warehouse situation on 11 acres that has served as a production studio facility in south Dallas,” according to City documents. “For decades, SSSD has been Dallas’s leading filming space for feature film and television, having served hundreds of productions, including television’s Queen of the South (USA), The Chosen (TBN) Dallas (reboot) (TNT), and Prison Break (Fox).”

Talon Entertainment Finance and developer Matthews Holdings Southwest began renovating the West Stage Building, a 70,000-square-foot warehouse, into a state-of-the-art “purpose-built” production site in 2023, City documents show:

“SSSD’s project includes an estimated $6.275M in renovations that will modernize studio production facilities on the site, currently home to three warehouse-type buildings. The project also includes approximately $1.533M in furniture, fixtures, and equipment purchases, including an LED virtual production wall, plus film and video production equipment to serve as rental inventory for in- and out-of-house productions.”

When the project is complete, SSSD estimates its annual revenue to start at nearly $3 million. It will employ as many as 250 crew members and 200 cast members, in addition to interns and students. Operations staff will include 13 workers, with payroll reaching $770,000. The local sales tax exemption would be about $150,000.

In reviewing the project for the exemption, the Texas Film Commission evaluates several criteria, including job creation and wages, capital investment, financial strength of the applicant, return on state investment, the applicant’s business history, public- and private-sector financial support, and analysis of the relevant business sector.

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