We are just so excited about New England Studios breaking ground right next door to us on Devens! It’s thrilling just to imagine the prospects of this wonderful new opportunity for our area. With the recent new groundbreaking of the studio and the start of construction, everyone in the area is just brimming with excitement and eagerness to see this project take shape.
Jason Kauppi, a member of the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, recently commented in the Lowell Sun about the groundbreaking ceremonies:
I have no problem with The Sun asking why only one state legislator attended the groundbreaking of a movie and TV studio at Devens (“Studio ceremony was no blockbuster,” June 30). However, in the effort to be witty, the headline leaves the wrong impression of the event.
This was among the best groundbreakings I’ve ever attended. As a Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce board member, public-relations consultant, former gubernatorial spokesman and one-time Sun reporter, I’ve been to my share. This event was standingroom only, drawing a much larger crowd than an earlier groundbreaking at a regional 9-1-1 dispatch center, also attended by only one state legislator. The building of New England Studios is a project worth celebrating because it represents significant private investment in Devens.
The studio will get a modest property tax break if it meets job-creation targets, unlike the now-defunct Evergreen Solar plant that cost taxpayers millions. This fact alone made the studio groundbreaking a blockbuster event.
DEVENS — The unlikely story of an old military base’s transition to a hub of Hollywood-style productions took a leap forward Tuesday, with Massachusetts officials breaking ground on a $30 million soundstage complex in Devens.
The new studios, which will include four 18,000-square-foot soundstages, are expected to be open for business in a year.
Chris Byers, director of operations for New England Studios at Devens LLC, said the top-of-the-line facility, coupled with the state’s film tax credit, will lure television and film productions, as well as hundreds of jobs, to Massachusetts.
“I don’t think anybody will believe how successful this thing is going to be,” Byers said. “I think it will surprise a lot of people.”
The series of events that led Byers to open Massachusetts’ first major sound stages could have been cooked up in Tinseltown. And it started in Lowell.
Byers, 48, grew up in the Mill City, the son of Frank Byers, who co-owned Caddell & Byers Insurance Co., of Lowell.
After starring as a hockey player at Cushing Academy, a prep school in Ashburnham, Byers moved to Europe where he briefly played hockey professionally. Byers’ hockey career also took him to Illinois, Indiana and New York, where he played for several minor-league teams.