Catawba Indian Nation considering movie studio project for reservation

Catawba Indian Nation Chief Bill Harris
Catawba Indian Nation Chief Bill Harris mcherry@heraldonline.com

The Catawba Indians and Studio South are considering a $125 million movie studio project on the Catawba Reservation, says Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Indian Nation.

The tribe and the studio have signed a non-disclosure agreement, Harris said Wednesday. The tribe is doing its due diligence on the proposal. “I can’t discuss the details,” he said.

The economic impact of the studio, however, would be significant for the tribe, the county and the region, Harris said.

The project “may be a topic” at an economic development meeting the tribe is holding Thursday with representatives from the Rock Hill City Council, the York County Council, the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp., the York County Economic Development Board, the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Rock Hill-York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The purpose of the meeting is to help others understand the tribe’s economic development goals and strategies, Harris said.

Studio South once proposed building the movie studio at the now demolished Eastland Mall in east Charlotte. Studio South was negotiating with the Charlotte City Council, which owned the mall. The discussions with Studio South ended when the Charlotte council said the company had not provided enough detailed information.

In September Studio South officials announced they had formed a joint venture with a York County property owner to potentially develop 70 acres either in, or near, Rock Hill. The proposed movie complex would be similar to what Studio South wanted to build in Charlotte: eight sound stages, retail and office space, a hotel and an educational component, officials said.

Bert Hesse of Studio South said at the time the complex could create up to 800 jobs.

Studio South could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066