Florida Still Feeling the Fallout of Digital Domain Collapse
Eric Smith-Gunn / evsmitty / flickr.com
The Tupac hologram wasn't enough.
Back in 2012, New Times brought you a comprehensive post-op on Digital Domain, a California-based special effects company that grabbed a lot of attention after it resurrected hip hop legend Tupac via hologram for the 2012 Coachella music festival.
But at the same time the company was collecting kudos for the stunt, the company was sinking into financial disaster. Six months later, the company declared bankruptcy. South Florida cities are still trying to pick up the pieces.
This week, Port St. Lucie made a move to do just that. Back in the late 2000s, as Digital Domain was picking up speed, the company made a push to kick-start the film industry in South Florida with a high tech studio in the town -- largely because the company's chairman John Textor has South Florida roots.
It was a disaster.
According to Bloomberg, the city originally borrowed $40 million to build the studio. After Digital Domain went belly up, the city's taxpayers began shoveling $3.5 million annually to pay the debt service -- service the company's rent was supposed to pay in the original plan. No one has been interested in buying the 115,000-square-foot building that was supposed to house 500 employees.
This week, the city announced it "plans to issue $33 million of debt to refinance securities" issued for the project, according to Bloomberg.
In July, the state of Florida launched at lawsuit at against the remaining pieces of the company. The legal action claimed that in the late 2000s the Digital Domain sweet-talked the state out of $20 million in seed money for local operations without leveling about their financial difficulties. West Palm Beach was also screwed over by the company, who secured local money for a film school that went south with the firm.
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