Harkness Screens International Ltd. announced on its website last week that it is opening a facility to manufacture cinema movie screens in an existing plant at EastPark Commerce Center off Cloverdale Road.
The Dublin, Ireland-based company is moving its manufacturing facility in Fredericksburg to the Botetourt County location because the company needs more room. It will open a new commercial and administration office in Fredericksburg, according to the announcement.
Harkness Screens is a world leader in screen technology and manufacturer of premium screens for cinemas and live events, the announcement said. The new state-of-the-art facility at EastPark will replace the existing plant in Fredericksburg and will start manufacturing Harkness’ leading screen technologies this fall, the announcement said.
Harkness was founded in 1929.
“The significant ingenuity and creativity that goes into producing and presenting a movie, from distribution all the way through to exhibition, deserves a premium screen to create a fantastic movie-going experience,” Mark Ashcroft, Global CEO of Harkness Screens, said in the announcement. “That’s what Harkness is all about and that’s what the new factory is all about. These are exciting times for the movie industry, for Harkness Screens and our cinema customers and this significant investment demonstrates our continued commitment to producing premium screen technology locally to serve the US and Latin American market.”
At close to 100,000 square feet, the new facility will increase the manufacturing capacity five-fold, the announcement said.
Harkness’ high-performance coated 2D and 3D screens include Clarus XC, Perlux Digital and Spectral, which the announcement said maximizes brightness, uniformity and enhances colors and contrasts on bigger screens— up to 60 feet in height and over 140 feet in width.
The new factory is equipped with the proprietary Harkness Digital Perforation process for superior 4K and laser image quality and enhanced audio transmission, the announcement said.
“With the conversion of cinemas to luxury formats, we are seeing an increased demand for similar upgrades to the screen, to ensure that it too is part of the new enhanced movie experience for consumers,” Ashcroft said in the announcement. “After listening carefully to our customers about their needs in the coming years we have shaped the new factory to not only meet that increasing screen demand but also to be able to best deploy exciting new coating technologies under development that will further optimize screens for 2D and 3D presentation as well as supporting emerging projection and sound technologies.”
Botetourt County Administrator Gary Larrowe said he met with the company representatives and with the owner of the building several times. The company came to Botetourt through the Roanoke Regional Partnership and the building owner, he said.
No local or state incentives are involved in the project.
According to county land records, the property is owned by BIOOYA Properties LLC in Forest. The 17 acres and building have an assessed value of $3.03 million.
BIOOYA bought the property last year for $2.8 million from EastPark Drive Properties LLC, which had acquired the property for $2.2 million from York International Corp. in the fall of 2010 after the Johnson Controls plant closed.
According to its website, Harkness supplies thousands of screens every year for cinema, film production, special effects, live events and custom AV applications.
The company says it has screens in more cinemas worldwide than any other manufacturer. Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the United States, United Kingdom, France, India and China. For more information, visit the Harkness Screens web page at www.harkness-screens.com.