Sanborn Studios terminates Lakewood Ranch facility lease

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- It appears to be a case of lights, camera, no action at Sanborn Studios.

At least in Manatee County.

The limited liability company announced plans late Tuesday afternoon to terminate its lease on its primary Lakewood Ranch studio facility “so as to achieve greater efficiencies in its operations,” reads the statement sent to the Herald. “The lease was originally entered into on September 14, 2010. Sanborn Studios, LLC and the owner have entered into an agreement providing for the early termination of the lease, and the transitioning of the property back to the owner.”

Sanborn Studios will relocate its studio operations to “a new facility in Sarasota County so as to be closer to its facilities at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport,” continues the statement.

Sanborn Studios noted it will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 19 through Jan. 3.

Neither chief executive officer/founder Ken Sanborn nor Karinne Behr, president and partner at Sanborn Studios, returned calls to their respective cell phones as of press time late Tuesday night.

Brad Lindberg, the property owner representative, concurred with Sanborn’s statement and added, by phone, “It was an amicable termination of the lease between both parties.”

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of Sanborn Studios, which received a $650,000 grant from Sarasota County.

As previously reported by the Herald, according to the financial incentive agreement between Sarasota County and Sanborn Studios, the company must add 117 jobs with an average wage of $72,000 by Sept. 2, 2013. Within 60 days of that date, Sanborn Studios shall reimburse the county $2,992 for each of the 117 new jobs not created. If Sanborn Studios ceases operations in Sarasota County within five years of the agreement, the company will be responsible to reimburse the county a prorated amount of the incentive starting at 80 percent.

Neither the Sarasota County commissioners nor members of its Economic Development Corporation could be reached Tuesday night.

When the Herald met with Behr last month she declined to disclose how many people Sanborn Studios employed.

Ken Sanborn said in a publicity statement issued in September 2010 that he planned to hire about 60 employees in the first year, although he’s not obligated to by Sarasota County.

“I’m not going back to the 60 employees, whatever,” Behr told the Herald in November.

“In all fairness, it’s almost like taking a score at halftime. We are in the type of business where you could start off very slow and then have a total explosion of jobs.”

Wade Tatangelo, Herald features reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7057.

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