NEW YORK—On June 6 York Studios broke ground for a state of the art production complex in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
York currently operates a 40,000-square-foot facility in Queens where the CBS episodic show “Elementary” is shot as well as serving as production locations for feature films including, among others, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, “Godzilla” (2014), and “Non-Stop.”
The new Bronx facility will be situated on a 10 acre vacant plot and will be constructed in two phases, ultimately to include nine sound stages and about 350,000 square feet of production space. The initial phase is set to be completed within 18 months and will feature five production stages totaling 170,000 square feet.
The Michaelangelo Campus, as it will be called, is named after the young son of one of York’s principal owners and will represent an investment of about $45 million to complete the initial phase. New York City Industrial Development Agency is offering $36 million in conditional tax credits over the next 25 years as an incentive.
State and local dignitaries in attendance included New York Lt Governor Kathy Hochul, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., New York City Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin, Gigi Simone of the New York State Film Commission and Joseph Tazwell of the Empire State Development Commission. York Executives complemented the dais. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was slated to attend but was a no show.
New York is well known as a production-friendly city and city commissioner Menin noted that during the past year 56 TV episodic series were shot in New York in addition to on-going productions ranging from low-budget indie to full studio feature films. Those who have produced in NYC are well acquainted with the city’s streamlined permitting process and a host of support offered through community agencies.
In turn, the production industry brings jobs and economic growth to New York. Commission figures claim over 300,000 jobs and annual economic output over $100 billion attributed to the entertainment industry. The NYC TV and film industry alone is responsible for an astounding $16.5 billion in payroll and spending. The York Michaelangelo Campus alone is expected to add more than 400 jobs even in the initial phase.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. stressed that the facility represents yet another step in the economic development of the Bronx. He particularly chided the media to emphasize that “this is not the Bronx of the 70’s, 80’s or early 90’s. It’s not Fort Apache, The Bronx anymore.” And indeed York will be a major component in economic and employment growth in a borough which has seen over the past eight years a drop in unemployment from 14.1 percent to 5.2 percent.
Both studio executives as well as public officials expressed optimism that York’s outreach to local schools could bring area young people into ultimately well-paying industry careers through internships, which lead to entry-level positions climbing the ladder ultimately to joining a Union and finding a life-path within the TV and film industry.
York executives indicated a flexibility in availability of the facilities from small productions through feature film through on-going episodic production. It is their intent to provide a state of the art production venue to a broad range of projects.
Within a year and a half, that iconic Made in NYC logo will be imprinted on projects originating in York’s Michaelangelo Campus in the Bronx.