Donald Trump once planned to build the largest movie studio in the US, but it fell apart

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Three years before he declared his run for the presidency, Donald Trump had his eyes set on another radically ambitious personal venture — the developement of an 800-acre studio in Hampstead, Florida, which "would have been the largest film and TV production campus in America," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The publication details how Trump came to the idea of constructing the studio in April 2012, through his friend Joe Martinez, "a former cop and background actor... who happened to be running for mayor of Miami." Martinez proposed that Trump help him revisit an abandoned 10-year-old plan to convert an airplane hangar in Florida into a small film studio.

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Donald Trump through the years
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Donald Trump once planned to build the largest movie studio in the US, but it fell apart
Real estate developer Donald Trump annouces intentions to build a $100 million dollar Regency Hotel. (Photo by John Pedin/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 02: Donald Trump with Alfred Eisenpreis, New York City Economic Development Administrator. Sketch of new 1,400 room Renovation project of Commodore Hotel. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - 1980: Donald Trump and Ivana Trump attend Roy Cohn's birthday party in February 1980 in New York City. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 26: Donald Trump stands behind architect's model of City Hall Plaza. (Photo by Frank Russo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Donna Mills and Donald Trump during 1983 Annual American Image Awards at Sheraton Center in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Portrait of real estate mogul Donald John Trump (b.1946), smiling slightly and facing to his right, 1983. New York. (Photo by Bachrach/Getty Images)
New York real estate magnates Steve Ross, right, and Donald Trump, left, announce agreement, Thursday, August 1, 1985 in New York, to merge the Houston Gamblers and the New Jersey Generals United States Football League teams. Ross heads a group of investors that last week agreed to buy the troubled Houston franchise. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Real estate magnate Donald Trump poses in front of one of three Sikorsky helicopters at New York Port Authority's West 30 Street Heliport on March 22, 1988. (AP Photo/Wilbur Funches)
Ivana Trump and Donald Trump during Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Donald Trump and his wife, Ivana, pose outside the Federal Courthouse after she was sworn in as a United States citizen, May 1988. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 4: Billionaire Donald Trump and his wife Ivana arrive 04 December 1989 at a social engagement in New York. (Photo credit should read SWERZEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Shown in photo is Donald Trump, Nov. 20, 1990. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Billionaire developer Donald Trump, right, waits with his brother Robert for the start of a Casino Control Commission meeting in Atlantic City, N.J., March 29, 1990. Trump was seeking final approval for the Taj Mahal Casino Resort, one of the world's largest casino complexes. (AP Photo)
Developer Donald Trump, center, is flanked by super middleweight champion Thomas Hearns, left, of Detroit, and Michael Olajide of Canada at a news conference in New York Thursday, Feb. 15, 1990. The three announced the super middleweight title bout at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort at Atlantic city, N. J on April 28.(AP Photo/Timothy Clary)
Real estate magnate Donald Trump and his girlfriend Marla Maples are seen at the Holyfield-Foreman fight at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., April 19, 1991. (AP Photo)
Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka Trump during Maybelline Presents 1991 Look of the Year at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 7: Donald Trump touches 07 April 1993 Marla Maples stomach to confirm published reports that the actress is pregnant with his child. The two arrived for Maples appearance in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies'. (Photo credit should read HAI DO/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: US business tycoon Donald Trump(C) enters the PLaza Hotel in New York past supporters 21 December 1994. Hundreds of supporters showed up at a news conference where Trump denied a New York newspaper report that the Sultan of Brunei had bid 300 million USD to buy the Manhattan hotel. (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE--This is a 1994 file photo of Donald Trump. Trump said Wednesday, Oct. 23, 1996 he has bought the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen beauty pageants from ITT. ``It's a done deal,'' Trump said in a telephone interview. ``It's a very, very great entertainment format. It gets very high ratings, it's doing very well and we'll make it even better.'' Trump declined to say how much he paid. Asked if a New York Post source was correct in saying the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars, Trump replied, ``Why not? (AP Photo/Jim Cooper)
FLUSHING MEADOWS, UNITED STATES: Donald Trump and his girlfriend Celina Midelfar watch Conchita Martinez and Amanda Coetzer 07 September at US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY. AFP PHOTO Timothy CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Christine Whitman during Opening of New Warner Bros. Store in Trump Plaza Casino at Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
In this June 7, 1995 file photograph, Donald Trump is seen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange after taking his flagship Trump Plaza Casino public in New York City. Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey. Trump and his daughter Ivanka resigned from the company's board Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, after growing frustrated with bondholders. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens,File)
Celine Dion, husband Rene, Donald Trump & Ivanka Trump (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Entrepreneur Donald Trump watches an undercard fight as an unidentified companion whispers into his ear before the start of the Mike Tyson versus Francois Botha bout at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, Jan. 16, 1999. (AP Photo/Eric Draper)
Developer Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he walks Saturday, Nov. 9, 2002, to the 11th green of the Ocean Trail Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Trump plans to turn the beleagured golf club into a world class course. Trump intends to close on the golf club by December and hopes to begin improvements by January. He could reopen the course, 20 miles south of Los Angeles, as early as June. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Entrepreneur Donald Trump (L) and Rev. Al Sharpton speak at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Sharpton's National Action Network Convention April 5, 2002 in New York City. The group aims to further the development of civil rights. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss attend the Marc Bouwer/Peta Fall/Winter 2002 Collection show February 14, 2002 during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. (Photo by George De Sota/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 06: WBC Kampf im Schwergewicht 2003, New York/Madison Square Garden; Vitali KLITSCHKO/UKR - Kirk JOHNSON/CAN; Donald TRUMP als Zuschauer (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Donald Trump stands on the sidelines before the start of the AFC divisional playoffs between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans on January 10, 2004 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Temperatures have reached as low as 7 degrees in the Foxboro area. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 10: Donald Trump speaks during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits on April 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. The annual NRA meeting and exhibit runs through Sunday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump attends Golf legend Jack Nicklaus' Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda March 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Trump announed on March 18 that he has launched a presidential exploratory committee. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Developer Donald Trump displays a copy of his net worth during his announcement that he will seek the Republican nomination for president, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump gives a thumbs up before boarding his campaign plane to depart from Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry with his children Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Trump agreed to look into it — under his own conditions.

"But Trump, being Trump, thought Martinez should think bigger," THR writes. "Instead of merely turning an old airplane hangar into a rinky-dink studio, Trump envisioned an entire studio city, built on 800 acres of undeveloped, government-owned land in Homestead — a rural, economically depressed part of Miami-Dade that still was recovering from Hurricane Andrew two decades earlier."

Trump then contracted New York architect John Fotiadis to develop renderings for the enormous Trump World Studios campus, which would have included "15 backlots, multiple sound studios ranging in size from 25,000 to 250,000 square feet (for a total of 1 million square feet of indoor space,) and even a housing complex for employees." (Fotiadis's studio blueprints can be seen in the THR article.)

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As their plans started to come closer to fruition in the following months, however, Trump and his contractors then hit a series of road blocks. His team reportedly had trouble acquiring the contiguous land necessary to build the whole campus, as some properties were already purchased by other entities or already in use by the US government.

Despite recieving a particularly memorable bit of assurance from director Michael Bay — "He told me he could have shot 'Transformers' [at Trump World Studios] if it were available," Martinez said — the barriers to progress soon became unassailable. Martinez lost his run for mayor of Miami to a candidate who openly opposed Trump World Studios, and the studio's proposed location happened to be next to a US Air Force Reserve base, where the taking off of military jets would have made for less-than-ideal filming conditions.

"I actually said, 'Can you move the Air Force base?'" Trump admitted, according to THR.

But by November 2012, the Air Force still held its ground, and Trump's lofty project "was officially dead."

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Melania Trump through the years
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Donald Trump once planned to build the largest movie studio in the US, but it fell apart
Melania Knauss and Donald Trump sit ringside for the Lennox Lewis-Michael Grant WBC/IBF Heavyweight Championship fight Saturday, April 29, 2000, at New York's Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
New York mayoral hopeful Michael Bloomberg, real estate developer Donald Trump, and model Melania Knauss chat together at the Bloomberg pre-dinner party for the White House Correspondent's DInner at the Washington Hilton, Saturday April 28, 2001 in Washington. (AP Photo/ Bloomberg, John Harrington)
Donald Trump, left, watches a match between Roger Federer, of Switzerland, and Robby Ginepri, of the USA, with model Melania Knauss at the US Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Melania Knauss, left, and Donald Trump arrive at the opening night party for Britney Spears' restaurant Nyla, at the Dylan Hotel in New York, Thursday, June 27, 2002. (AP Photo/John-Marshall Mantel)
**FILE**Donald Trump and Melania Knauss pose as they arrive for a charity event on board the Queen Mary 2 on April 24, 2004 in New York. The couple weds Saturday evening, Jan. 22, 2005, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
Melania Trump poses for pictures as she arrives at the Costume Institute Gala held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Monday , May 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
Photo by: Mitch Gerber/ �2005 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Telephone/Fax: (212) 995-1196 6/23/05 Donald Trump and Melania Knauss at the premiere of "War of the Worlds". (NYC) (Star Max via AP Images)
Donald Trump and his wife Melania Knauss wait for the start of the showing of the Oscar de la Renta spring 2006 collection, Monday, Sept. 12, 2005, during Fashion Week in New York. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)
Donald Trump with his wife Melania arrive at The Jazz at Lincoln Center for a gala event celebrating Qatar Airways' inaugural flights to New York, Thursday, June 28, 2007, in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
Melania Trump attend a screening of "The Duchess" hosted by The Cinema Society, Chanel and Vogue in New York on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Melania Trump attends The Museum of Modern Art Film Benefit honoring Baz Luhrmann on Monday, Nov. 10, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Melania Trump arrives before the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Melania Trump attends the 'Dressed To Kilt' fashion show to benefit the Friends of Scotland Organization at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend the premiere of "Tower Heist" on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Melania Trump arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit, celebrating Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, Monday, May 7, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
"Celebrity Apprentice" host Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive for the NBC network upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall, Monday, May 14, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Melania Trump pose for photos at a news conference, in New York, Thursday, May 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
LAS VEGAS, NV - December 15, 2015: Donald Trump and Melania Trump pictured in the Spin Room at the CNN GOP Debate at The Venetain Resort in Las vegas, NV on December 15, 2015. Credit: Erik Kabik Photography/ MediaPunch/IPX
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves the stage with his wife Melania Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump. left, after the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania in the spin room following the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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