Property developer Peter Montgomery is planning a $440-million movie studio conversion in Coffs Harbour, teaming up with Hollywood heavyweight and mid-north-coast local Russell Crowe, and US movie producer Keith Rodger.
The trio are preparing a state significant development application for the project, which would turn Pacific Bay Resort into a feature film production and post-production complex with accommodation for cast, crew and their families.
The new facilities would add to the 40ha property’s facilities that include an apartment complex, nine-hole golf course, three swimming pools, tennis courts and the National Marine Science Centre.
A film and Olympic museum, art gallery and entertainment facility would also be added to the property’s vacant block at the corner of Bay Drive and the Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour.
A second backlot is under consideration at the nearby Bonville Golf Resort with its “mansion-like clubhouse and accommodation fronting picturesque fairways surrounded by rainforest”.
Montgomery has formed many connections in the industry, was the vice president of the Australian Olympic Committee and is currently ASX-listed, MFF Capital Investments’ independent non-executive director.
The former Olympian, who represented Australia in water polo at the Munich 1972, Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980 games, and as team captain in 1984 in Los Angeles, has a large property portfolio including the Pacific Bay Resort, Bonville Golf Course and properties in Sydney.
“A great deal of planning and consultation have gone into the design of the proposed Pacific Bay Resort Studio and Village,” Montgomery said.
“Its proximity to Coffs Harbour airport and the data centre are complemented by the region’s outstanding climate and natural landscape.
“Our studios will cater for major international feature films as well as local productions, giving them the bonus of resort lifestyle in facilities that are designed to bring employment to the region and work in harmony with Coffs Harbour’s Regional City Action Plan.”
The project is being spearheaded by producer Rodger, who said it was designed to make production more efficient, cost-effective and enjoyable for actors, crews and their families.
“By providing everything cast and crews need within the studio complex we can eliminate the time usually lost due to the logistics of bringing a production together in a major city or isolated regional studio,” Roger said.
“Our multiple Leading Edge Data Centre 400GB fibre links as well as our onsite processing and storage capabilities will allow offsite producers remote production access with near-zero latency.”
Rodger said the project would also mix film-making with education, supported by Australian Film, Television and Radio School.
Also involved in the development is lead architect Rob Harper of RDO Architects and engineer Geoff Slattery, Chris Wilson and Rachel Streeter of Willowtree Planning, together with ECI involvement from Buildcorp, which was represented by founder Tony Sukkar during the project launch.
The site was originally a banana plantation before the construction of Pacific Bay Resort in 1988.
The Pacific Bay Resort Studios & Village developers anticipate they should be able to secure consents, agreements and approvals within a year with strong support already shown by NSW deputy premier John Barilaro and Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh.