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Work to begin on new $100 million Regal Mile film studio in South Shore

$100 million film studio coming to South Shore
$100 million film studio coming to South Shore 01:07

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Crews broke ground Monday on a new film studio in the South Shore neighborhood, hoping to make Chicago the Hollywood of the Midwest.

Regal Mile Studios is building a state-of-the-art media campus on a site bounded by 77th Street, Stony Island Avenue, and South Chicago Avenue.

The 380,000-square-foot film studio would be built on what had been 7 acres of long-vacant property in the South Shore neighborhood.

Developers say the $100 million project will create 250 construction jobs while the film studio is being built, and more than 300 permanent film production and film studio jobs once it's complete.

It will join the massive Cinespace Chicago Film Studios in North Lawndale and plans for another film production complex in Avondale.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said she and the community had been trying to develop the South Shore site for two decades before Regal Mile Ventures came up with the plan for the property.

"The Chi" producer Derek Dudley teamed up with Chicago-based investment firm Loop Capital Markets to help finance the project. Both Dudley and Loop Capital CEO James Reynolds grew up in South Shore.

It has been a long-held dream of mine to help energize the entertainment industry in my hometown and right in the neighborhood I grew up in. The community support has been tremendous," Dudley said in a statement.  

Developers believe the project will help stimulate the South Side economy, and give high school students hands-on multimedia experience.

"We're going to take those young kids, and show them how to work behind a camera, how to do movies," Reynolds said.

And a number of celebrities, including some homegrown stars are applauding the new project.

"It is gonna have such a huge impact on the South Side of Chicago," said Chicago actor Joseph Sikora, known for his roles in Ozark and Power.

Others hailing the new film studio include Lena Waithe, Deon Cole, Cedric The Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, and 

The film studio will be built down the street from the historic Avalon Regal Theater, which has been closed since 2003. There have been multiple plans to restore and reopen the theater since then, but none have yet come to fruition.

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