CT Studios partners meet with local businesses

By Martha Marteney-Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Tue., Apr. 5, 2011
CT Studios partner Hal Katersky spoke with more than 100 business professionals at the March 30 luncheon hosted by the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce.  Photos by Martha Marteney.
CT Studios partner Hal Katersky spoke with more than 100 business professionals at the March 30 luncheon hosted by the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce. Photos by Martha Marteney.

On March 30, the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce held a luncheon with CT Studios partners Hal Katersky, of Pacifica Ventures, and Anthony DelVicario, of Halden Acquisition Group, in order to provide the business community with current information about the project, as well as details on how to access the local business opportunities bundled with the project.  According to SWCC president John Zahner, it was Katersky's first time speaking at a SWCC function.

Tami Sarra of Camp Bow Wow came to the function because she had heard varying information about the future of the studios.  She hopes her new business will become the preferred dog care and kennel facility.

“The one thing I’ll promise today,” said Katersky, “is we’ll have an operating studio in South Windsor by the end of the year.” The CT Studios project is being built in stages, which will allow for better gauging of the mix of large and small scale production facility needs.  It is anticipated that the bidding process will begin in 60 days, and the first shovel will be in the ground in 90 days.

Katersky announced that three national vendors will be used for specific needs: Universal Studio’s lighting and grips department; Caterpillar, Inc., for large machines and engines; and Hertz Rent-a-car.  It was decided to use these national companies, because the production companies are familiar with their services and modes of operation.  For all other needs, Katersky said he welcomed the opportunity to work with the local business community, including unions. Katersky would not announce the national hotel franchise which will be building an on-site location as part of one of the later construction stages.

Joan Talley is the director of operations for the CT Studios concierge and production support services.  Businesses interested in working with CT Studios and the production companies must first become vetted by the concierge through a process detailed on the website ctstudiosconcierge.com. This will help streamline the connection between local businesses and the in-coming production companies.

“Movies and television are our [the United States] second largest export,” noted Katersky.  He compared making a movie to starting up a business.  “When the production company comes in, they buy everything from office supplies to lumber for the sets.”

“It’s great seeing it come to fruition,” said Town Councilor Cary Prague.  “It’s been three years now, and it’s becoming real now.”  Although the town has forfeited tax revenue in order to help with the financing of the project, the town will still feel the economic benefit of the CT Studios through the financial successes of the businesses and residents. 

“We wouldn’t be in Connecticut, if the major studios hadn’t said to us that they want to be in Connecticut,” said Katersky. South Windsor was chosen as a prime site, because it is centrally located in the state and near the capital.  Katersky wants the legislature to see the economic benefit of having CT Studios in the state so that the film credit incentives will be maintained.  In order to take advantage of the credits, the production company must hire or purchase through businesses located within the state. This is called the “local spend.”

“We’re giving people a reason to stay in Connecticut,” said DelVicario, by providing new opportunities for businesses and jobs. 

Priscilla Snow of Post Road Stages joined the meeting in order to learn how her company could be involved in the transportation needs of the studio, such as shuttles to the airport or local tours.  Katersky responded to Snow’s inquiry, explaining that the teamsters union would be hired for the movement of any equipment, but that non-union businesses could be used for other transportation needs.

Katersky also said there will be opportunities for internships, which in the long run will help build the highly trained, skilled workforce needed by the production companies.  Skilled workers are being encouraged to join the appropriate unions, as many of the large production companies will only use union labor. 

“I think the number of people here today show the level of interest in this project,” said state Rep. Bill Aman.  More than 100 people joined the function at the Mill on the River.  For more information about CT Studios, visit the website ctstudiosllc.com.



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