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Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023

New Life for Millennium

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Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit company will soon operate out of Millennium Studios.

“50 Cent” Jackson and city reach agreement on studio

Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux eagerly welcomed downtown Shreveport’s latest commercial tenant as Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit company reached an agreement with the city to lease the former Millennium Studios.

“I am excited about it,” Arceneaux said.

“It’s a real deal. He has a number of production commitments, so I know he will be starting off with a pretty heavy production schedule over there, which is good.”

The agreement is a 30-year lease on the building, with an option for 15 more years. The yearly rent will be $2,400. Under the terms of the agreement, G-Unit becomes responsible for maintaining the facility. Arceneaux said that will save the city $180,000 a year, in addition to the rent.

Arceneaux said the agreement is similar to one the city entered into with Stageworks a number of years ago.

“The lease is patterned after that lease,” he said. “That lease was $100 a month. Right now, we have basically an empty, idle building that is producing nothing. Yet, maintaining it was costing us $180,000 a year. We are saving $180,000 a year, which is really the biggest part. He is taking over the building and maintaining it for us and improving it for us. At the end of the lease, whenever that occurs, the improvement and everything he’s done belongs to the city.”

Arceneaux explained that the agreement isn’t like a typical private-party lease agreement, but it works for all parties with this unique building.

“If we were a typical landlord, we could have charged a much higher rent, but we would have been paying the maintenance expense,” he said. “This way, it actually is a triple net lease, which means, basically, the tenant pays everything. This is a very good deal. And then when you consider this is basically a single-purpose building, and we don’t have a purpose for it, it really makes a lot more sense.”

And the cost savings for the city is significant, he said.

“One hundred eighty thousand dollars a year is a lot of money,” the mayor said. “We have a lot of other uses for that besides maintaining Millennium Studios.

I think that is the part of the deal that people didn’t understand.”

The mayor said the agreement is also significant for the city of Shreveport beyond seeing an idle building put to use.

“This is a winwin deal for the city and for him,” Arceneaux said. “I think we will see some significant growth. Then, it’s almost like an industrial production facility. There will be spin-off work. There will be suppliers. There will be all kinds of people who will benefit from this and will need to participate in the things he’ll be doing.

“It really is a good deal for the city. It converts an asset to a positive from a big negative and also creates jobs.”

The Shreveport City Council is scheduled to vote on approving the lease at its Dec. 12 meeting. If it is approved. G-Unit will take over the building Jan. 1, 2024.

Also, on Dec. 12, the council will consider the city’s 2024 budget. Arceneaux said there has not been a lot of controversy with respect to reviewing the proposed budget.

Also in mid-December, the Citizens Capital Improvements study committee should be presenting its bond proposals for projects around the city. Those proposals must be ready in December to put them on a ballot for voters in April of 2024.

“We met with them and gave them a list of things that included our own viewpoint about priorities, based on input from the community and the committee. That list is in the $267 million range, which I think is a little ambitious.

But not a lot ambitious. My own view is it ought to be somewhere in the range of $250 million, which means there still will be some priorities to be set by committee.”

With that flurry of activity between now and mid-December, Arceneaux playfully considered how he would celebrate that progress.

“I think dinner out on Dec. 12 would be appropriate,” he said with a chuckle.

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