The movie crew has taken over parts of Old Towne Petersburg during a time some store and restaurant owners call critical for the survival of their businesses. Upset owners said the movie production is taking up parking spaces used by potential customers.
“We’ve got heavy equipment going on… signs everywhere. It’s a concern of mine as a business owner,” said Tommy Adams owner of Divine Diva.
Andrades International Restaurant owner Rigo Pareda said nearly half of the 27 Christmas parties he had booked at his restaurant have cancelled due to parking issues.
“My parking spaces are taken by the movie, and the city lot is taken by the movie,” he said. “It’s good for Petersburg, but it’s bad for us.”
Other businesses in Old Towne Petersburg have embraced the attention the movie production has brought to the area.
“We took some of our most popular martinis and named them after the actors and actresses,” said Theresa Scarbro, a manager at Wabi Sabi restaurant.
Property owner Gibbons Sloan rented some of his parking lot to Spielberg’s crew. He said he has been able to watch the movie as it is being made.
“I just saw where they were working with Lincoln a little bit this morning, but actually they really don’t want anybody on the set,” he said.
Actor and director Tim Reid of New Millennium Studios said Spielberg hired a local builder to make part of the “Lincoln” set.
“He’s built the bow of a ship that’s going to be floating,” Reid said. “It’s several tons and will be floating on air for a little dream sequence . So for me, sitting here and watching this movie, is to see magic made in my studio in Petersburg, Virginia it’s going to be a big smile for me.”
Reid said if Lincoln does well at the box office, Petersburg could see a jump in tourism.
Spielberg’s publicist said the filming of Lincoln will wrap up in another week.