Action! Chisholm to sell city hall to movie studio

The Iron Range city of Chisholm is planning to sell its city hall to a prospective new movie studio and build a new one. (City of Chisholm)

The Mesabi Iron Range city of Chisholm, Minn., is planning to sell its city hall to a prospective new movie studio. (City of Chisholm)

Here’s one of those stories that I saw coming a long time ago but hadn’t shared because I just didn’t believe it. The Mesabi Iron Range city of Chisholm is planning to sell its century-old city hall to a developer who wants to use it as a movie studio.

The developer is Jerry Seppala, a former political consultant and entrepreneur. Reports say he sees demand for working studio facilities thanks to a tax rebate program designed to attract film and television productions to the Minnesota. Northern Minnesota holds much of the natural beauty producers find attractive, but has no studios for interior shots or to do the work of editing and mixing the films near the locations.

The Chisholm City Hall fits the bill. Since the city wants to build a new one that merges city offices with police and fire stations anyway, this arrangement works for them. The project was initially billed as a $2.5 million sale, but is now being described as “lease-to-own.”

The company Seppala plans to start will be called Ironbound Studios. There is already another company by that name based in New Jersey. I guess we’ll see how that turns out. Seems like something that someone could have googled.

Seppala has run Griffin Productions in the Twin Cities for the past six years, which had announced several Minnesota productions. One of the most notable was a 2012 feature film project set on the Iron Range called “Thanksgiving at Dennys” which never got made.

Here’s hoping things go better this time, right?

I’m not sure if this enterprise will bring Jennifer Lawrence to Tom and Jerry’s or over to Radko to cash in her aluminum, but I suppose in some cosmic sense it’s a step in that direction. So, I say welcome to a bold new future. Just don’t let Gary Busey wreck the old city hall. We might need that building when you’re done with it.


  1. MN Brown – many a Friday night in high school did I spend on the upper floor / rec center and dance hall at the Chisholm City Hall. The floor has been closed for structural reasons for years. However, the memories will always be there. Here is to the new film studio…

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