Separate agreements with Netflix and Lionsgate have been made by the state of New Jersey in an effort to revitalise underutilised buildings and increase the number of film and television production facilities located there.
On December 21st, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that Netflix has filed the winning bid for the reconstruction plan of the long-abandoned former Army complex in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, located about 50 miles east of Trenton.
On the same day, Lionsgate announced that they had reached an agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to move through with plans to open Lionsgate Newark Studios. Up to 600 new jobs and up to $800 million in economic benefit are expected from that endeavour for Newark and New Jersey.
Murphy, speaking of Netflix’s plans for the massive Fort Monmouth property, stated, “This transformative investment will serve as a cornerstone in our attempts to develop a successful business from whole cloth.”
New Jersey’s position as a rising national leader in the television and film industries will be cemented as a result of the over one billion dollars spent on film production. As a result of Netflix’s massive direct investment, the local economy will be bolstered and thousands of new jobs will be created in the construction, maintenance, and operation of the associated homes, hotels, and other companies.
Netflix and the state claim that over 1,500 “permanent production employment” and over 3,500 construction-related jobs will be created by the Fort Monmouth site. Netflix plans to invest $848 million into the approximately 300-acre plot to build 12 soundstages, production offices, and other related buildings.
Community amenities are planned to be available on site as well. As reported by the state, Fort Monmouth has been “mostly unoccupied” for almost a decade.
The co-CEO and chief content officer of Netflix, Ted Sarandos, has said that a Netflix-owned studio could “increase the local and state economy with thousands of new employment and billions in economic output, while generating a dynamic production ecosystem in New Jersey.”
The Lionsgate studio has been promoted as the first “purpose-built” TV and film production facility in the state. In order to encourage film and television production in New Jersey, the state’s economic development agency has named Lionsgate one of three official studio partners, providing the company with substantial tax incentives.
Depending on the scope of the project, Lionsgate can now include an additional $15 million to $60 million in above-the-line salary and related costs when applying for tax credits.
The Lionsgate Newark studio was announced in May as a collaboration between Lionsgate, Great Point Studios (managed by experienced studio executive Robert Halmi), and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
The beginning of September marked the beginning of construction on the 350,000 square foot building. The East Ward neighbourhood of Newark is the future home of the studio. It will rise where the Seth Boyden public housing complex once stood.
The complex will include culinary and restaurant services in addition to its five soundstages, as well as extensive post-production, prop, set-building, and support capabilities. The projected finish date is September of 2024.
“This is fantastic news for the numerous New Jerseyans who work in and act in the entertainment business, and for the state itself,” Halmi added. Gov. Phil Murphy’s support was crucial because he understood the significance of this massive project for Newark, New Jersey, and the surrounding area.
A similar production facility, Lionsgate Studios Yonkers, is already operational in Yonkers, New York thanks to the efforts of Lionsgate and Great Point Studios.
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