HIGH POINT — Just west of the bright green field at Truist Point baseball stadium is an industrial brownfield where a local company wants to build a media empire.
Brittano Group-KNova Film Capital has asked the City Council for a $1.5 million incentive package to begin work on a complex of studios and production offices at 614 W. Green Drive, land that was once a lumber yard and industrial complex.
The brick buildings and vacant lots in the area are part of what the city has designated an "opportunity zone."
High Point has begun marketing some of the zone's land around the baseball stadium, where the High Point Rockers play, for a possible hotel, apartments and other businesses.
The year-old stadium, in southwest High Point, sits practically in the shadow of such landmarks as Market Square and High Point Medical Center.
High Point University President Nido Qubein was the leader of an effort to build the $36 million stadium, which he believes is an economic catalyst for the city.
For years, city officials have thought investment has been slow to come to that part of High Point after traditional industries closed or left town. They've been looking for business that can fill in the physical and economic gaps created by the seasonal furniture markets.
Enter Brittano Group, a local company that could help add economic life to the area. The company, which operates a High Point production studio nearby, was founded by Julian Brittano, an actor, producer and author, and wife Karie. Julian Brittano has appeared in movies and TV shows, including "Greenleaf" on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Brittano Group hopes to produce video content for streaming services by offering its own productions as well as helping other production companies.
The couple said Wednesday they want to locate their new business in the opportunity zone and hire local minorities so they can learn new job skills through the production work being offered.
"We want to give them the tools to be successful," Julian Brittano said.
Loren Hill, president of the High Point Economic Development Corp., a city agency, said that the company could spend up to $100 million on development, machinery and equipment for properties in the area and create more than 120 jobs. Hill's group estimates the project will add $65 million to the city tax base.
In a document presented to City Council, Hill said that the positions will include work in set construction, sound and lighting. He has recommended that council grant "performance-based" incentives, which would only be paid in installments when the company reaches certain benchmarks of performance.
Karie Brittano said the company wants to produce shows and movies that tell contemporary stories about minorities.
"We like to collaborate with creators that can have a positive representation of what's going on in our community," she said. "We like to provide a voice for our community."
Company investors are also considering locations in other states, Hill said in the city document.