Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon September 17, 2012

“The End” for Digital Domain here

It looks like Port St. Lucie won’t become a major center for the making of animation movies, after all.  At least not for a while.  Not after Digital Domain Media Group closed the doors of its new digital animation studio in the city’s Tradition section.  About 280 of the 300 employees were laid off.  Some had just been transferred from the company’s facilities in California and British Columbia.  Local and state officials were stunned.  In 2009, Digital Domain received a $71 million incentive package in exchange for creating 500 high-paying jobs by 2014.  Company president John Textor, a resident of Martin County, resigned, saying he opposed the shutdown.  His private equity firm bought Digital Domain in 2006.  He wanted it to expand beyond Oscar-winning special effects to family-friendly animated movies made right here.  Digital Domain bought the naming rights to the New York Mets stadium in St. Lucie West.  With Florida State University, it started a college of Motion Picture Arts in West Palm Beach.  But the company was bleeding cash and defaulting on loans.  Making family-friendly animated movies is a tough business.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.