After the Legislature declined to adequately expand tax incentives for the film industry in Montana, a team of developers poised to open a multi-million studio in Missoula were forced to change course.
On Thursday, Shadowcast Partners closed on a $1.5 million offer for several Missoula County lots in the Development Park, where the company now plans to construct a distribution center for electric freight trucks.
“They were originally going to build a production studio, but the Legislature didn’t expand the tax credit like they anticipated,” said Emily Brock, director of economic and land development for the county. “They found another end user that distributes electric freight trucks. They’ll be a pass-through to that final user.”
Shadowcast last year announced its intention to construct and open a $20 million film and television studio on county land in the Missoula Development Park near the airport. The facility would have created new jobs and given the film and television industry a foothold in Missoula.
But a legislative bill aimed at expanding the state’s film cap to aid and entice the industry’s growth failed to produce what proponents had sought. Gov. Greg Gianforte’s signature on the bill ultimately sank Shadowcast’s multi-million dollar investment in Missoula.
But the company in June said it was still interested in the county property, and it suggested it would search for other viable opportunities. The transaction agreed to Thursday will place a new business on the site after all.
According to the county, Shadowcast will develop the site for a Peterbilt dealership.
“This is great plot twist after the Legislature and the governor made a bad decision regarding the film industry in our greater economy,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick. “It seemed like this deal may fall through, so it’s great to see an end user step forward who is consistent with our values. It’s a positive turn.”
Brock said use of the property eyed for the sale and charging of electric freight trucks must still be approved by the county planning department.