STRATFORD - The U.S. Army has announced its former engine plant near Sikorsky Airport will be turned into a state-of-the-art movie production facility.

Hollywood East/Area 51, a New Haven film production company, placed the winning $9.6 million bid for the property. The film company says it will likely have to spend millions more to decontaminate the site.

According to reports, the production company plans to build 30 soundstages, which will create thousands of jobs. That?s what state leaders envisioned when they passed tax credits for the film industry in 2006.

?This is the sort of thing we?ve been working on,? says General Assembly Speaker Jim Amman (D-Milford). ?Not just the glitz and glamour?but actually to have a place with an infrastructure there?and [be] competitive. Being [one of the] top 10 moviemakers in the nation right now - who would have thought little Connecticut could do that??

Stratford Mayor James R. Miron says he's cautiously optimistic about the project, but notes that the next 18 months are critical. Hollywood East/Area 51 must finalize its plans, which then need to be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and Gov. Jodi Rell.