Ranch Film Studios to Convert Former Arabi Ford Factory to New Studio
Waggenspack has big plans for the building, but says the historic significance of the Ford plant will not be forgotten.
NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans film studio is looking to expand. The Ranch Film Studios in Chalmette wish to convert and transform a former Ford Model T assembly plant into their last studio.
With partners including Sidney Torres III, The Ranch CEO Jason Waggenspack is looking to redevelop the building into a content creation hub for movie and TV stages and a space for tech, games and music. .
“This is a 225,000 square foot building constructed in 1921 by Albert Kahn and Henry Ford himself,” Waggenspack said. “It spans 27 acres and we think we have a blank canvas here to really extend far beyond the building. “
The old Ford factory is just down the road from the Ranch Studios. The site was once comprised of two big box stores, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“Part of our development model has taken over run down properties,” Waggenspack said. “The Ranch Film Studios was a former Lowe’s and a run down old Save A ‘Center and we noticed it was a very well equipped way to build a movie studio, so we decided to integrate it into the Ford factory. . “
The company is looking to raise $ 70 million for the project, a daunting number to hear for most of us, but Waggenspack said the entertainment industry has taken off so much in Louisiana that it needs to grow.
“If you look at the fact that we have a billion dollars in sales in the film industry, how can we not take advantage of the expansion and allow more of these tens of thousands of jobs to happen, hopefully here? in this backyard of St. Bernard Parish, ”said Waggenspack.
Waggenspack has big plans for the building, but says the historic significance of the Ford plant will not be forgotten. In fact, quite the contrary, it will serve as an inspiration.
“We want to keep the essence of what happened here,” Waggenspack said. “So it is evident that the historical preservation of this building is of the utmost importance and we hope that thousands of people will work here regularly, as they were in the 1920s.
Waggenspack says the whole project is expected to take around three years. The company did not want to say how much it paid for the building.