September 16, 2015 | Source:

Hawaii Film Studio set for multimillion-dollar facelift next year

With more than four decades of history behind it, the Hawaii Film Studio is set to undergo a partial facelift within the next year as a part of a phased effort to repair and update the Honolulu facility’s dated infrastructure.

“The Hawaii Film Studio is an aging facility — more than 20 years since the sound stage was first built in the early ’90s — so there will always be work to be done,” Hawaii State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson told PBN in an email.

The first $1.7 million phase of improvements took place last year and included repaving roadways around the complex’s Stage 2 building; replacing double doors throughout the main production office; and installing new roll up doors at the film tank building.

Dawson said the repairs took place over nearly three-and-a-half months in between production breaks of the “Hawaii Five-0” television series, which has been using facility for the last three years.

“Repair and maintenance is constant and we are fortunate to have “Hawaii Five-0″ as a dedicated tenant and partner,” she explained. “They have been extremely flexible and willing to take on much of this work given our very limited operational budget.”

The next $2.5 to $5 million phase of improvements will replace the studio’s four existing bungalows that now serve as additional production offices and house various departments for resident productions.

That work, Dawson said, will likely take place next year during Hawaii Five-0’s summer production break from April 2016 till the end of August 2016.

“We are looking to do a one to one replacement so that we end up with at least as much office space when we are done, if not more,” Dawson said. “Because we again will need to work around production’s schedule and have limited funds and time, we are going to be putting in modular units that are pre-fabricated off-site so that work can be done while we prepare the existing site where they will be installed.”

Hawaii Five-0’s production could be impacted by the renovation work, if they get a seventh season, Dawson said.

“We are working very closely with them, obviously, to ensure that disruption is minimal,” Dawson said. “We will provide trailer space for the affected departments to work out of while the renovations take place.”

Over years, the Hawaii Film Studio, located on a 7.5-acre lot near Kapiolani Community College at 510 18th Ave., has served as the home for a number of television series and feature films, including “Hawaii Five-0,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Baywatch Hawaii,” “Lost,” “Fifty First Dates,” “Final Fantasy,” and “Blue Crush.”

The studio’s origins date back to 1975, when CBS Productions leased about 4.8 acres of land on what is now the Hawaii Film Studio from the University of Hawaii to film the original “Hawaii Five-0” television series, starring the late Jack Lord and James MacArthur.

At that time, CBS Productions constructed many of the buildings that now make up the Hawaii Film Studio, including the bungalows.

The state Legislature later transferred control of the property to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and expanded the Hawaii Film Studio site to 7.5 acres in the late 1980s.

A pre-bid meeting and site visit for the second phase of repairs will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday at the Hawaii Film Studio.

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