June 28, 2017


Animated Decision for Digital Studio

Mike Vogel | 11/1/2009
Digital Domain
Digital Domain won notice for its work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” among others. John Textor wants to bring an offshoot of it to Port St. Lucie.

Hobe Sound deal maker John Textor runs in elite circles. The du Pont heir and former pro skateboarder was a frat brother at Wesleyan of filmmaker Michael Bay (Transformers and Pearl Harbor). The principals of Textor’s Wyndcrest Holdings include Dolphins great Dan Marino. Textor co-chairs — and Wyndcrest owns — California visual effects company Digital Domain, which worked on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Titanic.

Textor’s latest deal is bringing an iteration of Digital Domain to Port St. Lucie — an animation studio-game developer funded with a $20-million state grant and $10 million in local incentives.

The deal has caused a stir both in Port St. Lucie and Sarasota, the city left at the altar in the competition for his envisioned 500 to 1,000 jobs. “I’m hoping everybody takes a good hard look at this thing,” says Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, who helped get the project the $20 million. Bennett says Sarasota delivered the package Textor wanted but got stiffed. Bennett’s ire isn’t shared by all on the Gulf Coast, however. State Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, wanted Sarasota to get the studio but says, “I’m happy to have it in the state of Florida.”

Textor, 44, says Sarasota didn’t act in time. Meanwhile, in St. Lucie, he’s defending his “very good” track record from criticism on area websites that focus on the local incentives. (That track record includes website developer Jester Digital, online retailer Babyuniverse and Virtual Bank.)

Textor says his outfit will spend $50 million on the project. Meanwhile, FSU’s storied film program has agreed to locate a satellite with Textor’s studio. “We’re excited about the possibilities,” says dean Frank Patterson.

Tags: Politics & Law, Southeast, Government/Politics & Law

Digital Access

Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.


Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Amazon Prime Now’s new Wynwood hub
Amazon Prime Now’s new Wynwood hub

In its latest move to capture even more of the $800 billion dollar grocery industry, Amazon Prime Now opens a new hub in Wynwood on Wednesday aimed at serving South Florida’s Hispanic audience.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Gov. Scott vetoed reimbursing homeowners whose healthy citrus trees were torn down by the state. Now it's up to Florida's Supreme Court. Which side do you agree with?

  • No reimbursement - Gov. Scott's veto should stand
  • Supreme Court should undo veto, allow homeowners to collect on judgments won against state

See Results

Ballot Box