By UNLV MEDIA RELATIONS | Posted – April 30, 2024

Las Vegas has a long history as a hotspot for film and television productions, but limited infrastructure – particularly dedicated studios and related facilities – has kept the Entertainment Capital of the World from reaping the full economic benefits and diversification associated with becoming an established content production hub. 

That may soon change.

The UNLV Research Foundation last week unanimously granted approval for an agreement with Gardner Nevada Tech Park Studios, a Gardner Group affiliate, to oversee development of a 34-acre media production and multi-use facility complex at the university’s Harry Reid Research & Technology Park in Southwest Las Vegas. 

Gardner, the master developer of the research park, will work with Birtcher Development and noted studio operator The MBS Group to create the planned Nevada Studios Campus. The campus will feature full-service film and television studios, and facilities designed to capitalize on emerging technologies related to content creation. 

“UNLV is excited to partner on the Nevada Studios Campus project, which complements our growing innovation ecosystem at the Tech Park and holds great potential to bring new, diverse industries to Southern Nevada and bolster our regional economy,” said UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield. “It will also support our region’s growing creative workforce and offer new and exciting opportunities for UNLV’s students, faculty, and innovators. We look forward to working with Sen. Lange in support of this project.”  

The initial, signature facility on the planned Nevada Studios Campus is the Nevada Media Lab, a production and immersive learning building that will provide both space and industry engagement opportunities for the UNLV film department and other academic departments at the university. The lab will also have space to support vocational training, internship experiences, and research and workforce development opportunities for both K-12 and higher education partners throughout Nevada. 

The concept for the Nevada Studios Campus was first legislatively introduced near the end of the 2023 Nevada Legislative Session, and momentum for the project – and the broader development of film and television production facilities in Southern Nevada – has continued ever since. 

“I’ve been a big supporter of the Birtcher Nevada Studios project from the beginning because of what it can do for our state and for UNLV,” said Don Snyder, a UNLV Research Foundation board member and former UNLV Acting President. “This project makes tremendous sense for Southern Nevada for many reasons, including the significant ground lease revenue that will flow to UNLV.”

Execution of a lease agreement and subsequent commencement of construction is subject to the passage of the anticipated Nevada Film Studio Infrastructure Act, which will be introduced during the 2025 Nevada Legislative Session. 

Nevada State Senator Roberta Lange, the bill sponsor, said, “I am eager to partner with UNLV, Birtcher Development and the MBS Group to gain legislative support in furthering economic diversification and workforce development goals in Southern Nevada, through film and television industry growth.”

Construction of the Nevada Media Lab and motion picture studio buildings would begin within 18 months of the Governor signing the forthcoming legislation into law. The Nevada Media Lab will offer educational and vocational training organizations a place to train tomorrow’s talent and retrain Nevada residents in preparation for the arrival of the film and TV industry.  

“The Nevada Studios Campus is a signature example of what the Tech Park is intended to attract and facilitate,” said Zach Miles, executive director of the UNLV Research Foundation. 

Birtcher Development, an industrial and specialty real estate company founded in 1939, has developed, managed, or acquired more than 260 projects, including the Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences headquarters and screening rooms in North Hollywood and the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. 

Based in Los Angeles with operations throughout North America and Europe, The MBS Groupis the largest studio operator and production services company in the world, supporting more than 500 sound stages and over 900 high-end film and television productions each year. 

Gardner Group, the master developer for the UNLV Tech Park, is a full service commercial real estate company, with a portfolio of over 30-million square feet of commercial development including office, industrial, medical, multi-family, senior living, and retail center.

The UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park is located on 122 acres in the fast-growing southwestern part of the Las Vegas valley. Recently named the region’s “most catalytic place” by the Urban Land Institute Nevada, the park serves as a high-tech home for innovation and collaboration between university and private industry in support of a diverse and thriving Southern Nevada economy.

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