Bastrop: SoCal Studio Company Plans to Develop 546-Acre Film Studio in City’s ETJ
Feature Illustration: A site plan for the proposed studio development by Los Angeles-based Project M Plus.
by Art Benavidez
Bastrop (Bastrop County) — A touch of Hollywood is one step closer to becoming reality after a California actor received approval of a concept plan for a film studio at a recent Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
The commission also approved amendments to the comprehensive plan changing the future land use designation from rural residential to industry, along with the Transportation Master Plan for the Master Thoroughfare Plan and street grid.
The 546.36-acre property is undeveloped terrain to the west of Lovers Lane in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Before development of the film studio, the property will need to be annexed into the city limits.
The name of the development is going under the name Bastrop 552 Development after initially surfacing in town by the name Colorado Bend.
The site is bordered on the west by the Colorado River and within the 100-year and 500-year floodplain, and has limited access without the construction of a bridge over the river.
The concept plan proposes 220 acres of recreational use, 135.36 acres of studio development, 40 acres of accommodations and 151 acres of recreation and hybrid studios.
A major thoroughfare map, which the city adopted in 2017, recognized a collector level road across the proposed development from Lovers Lane that includes a bridge to cross the Colorado River and connect to SH 304 to the west.
A 2019 Transportation Master Plan Street Grid reclassified this as a primary street and added 720-foot grid local connector streets that fit the Rural Residential Character District.
Alton Ervin Butler, founder of Pacoima, California-based Line 204 Studios, owns the property through the entity Bastrop Colorado Bend, LLC.
In 1997, Butler started the production-focused rental company in his Studio City garage after moving to the Los Angeles-area from his native Alabama. His company supplies all manner of equipment and props for commercials, television shows and promotional videos.
Butler sought an amendment to the Transportation Master Plan to eliminate any streets that would intersect the property.
This would remove connector streets, along with relocating the bridge crossing of the Colorado River to the southeastern corner of the property.
A future transportation plan amendment from the commission’s planning staff will propose a route for a connection from the bridge to SH 304.
Butler is proposing to develop the site as a single lot without internal roads.
This would allow for the development of a:
Multi-faceted film studio facility which would include production facilities, sound stages, backlots, storage and other ancillary spaces.
Short-term residential accommodations or similar uses with associated amenities.
Lodging, restaurants, event spaces and recreational facilities including a golf course, dude ranch, campground, RV park, club house, parks and greenbelt areas or similar uses
Conceptual land use.
Project M Plus, a Los Angeles–based collective of designers and architects, and Austin-based Land Strategies Inc. are on board the project.
William McLean, with the Austin law firm McLean and Howard, represented the development to the commission.
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.