New York studio surge stealing spotlight from Hollywood

Aggressive expansion comes as state doubles down on tax credits

New York Studio Surge Stealing Spotlight From Hollywood

From left: Vornado Realty Trust’s Steven Roth and Robert DiNero (Getty)

Hollywood has long held the hands of entertainment’s elite, but New York’s studio expansion is giving the industry an offer it can’t refuse.

The New York production business is posing a legitimate threat to Hollywood’s longstanding title as the entertainment capital of the country, the Los Angeles Times reported. In recent years, a number of soundstages and production spaces have opened or broken ground in New York City and the rest of the Empire State.

Sunset Pier 94 Studios is set to add six soundstages on Manhattan’s West Side next year. The soundstages, being developed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Vornado Realty Trust, Hudson Pacific Properties and Blackstone, will add 85,000 square feet to the city’s production portfolio.

Robert De Niro is backing Wildflower in Queens, encompassing 765,000 square feet of soundstages. East End Studios is also opening a space in Sunnyside, Queens next year and Great Point Studios has a facility in Yonkers.

One of the biggest drivers of New York’s studio boom is the state’s annual film tax credit, increased by the legislature this year from $420 million to $700 million. Officials also raised the credit on qualified expenses and created a template for producers to claim the credits even faster.

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It’s not a high time for every production company in New York as the industry continues to emerge from last year’s double strike. Broadway Stages in Brooklyn was at just 50 percent capacity last month.

There may also be a greater existential threat coming for the industry. As these spaces proliferate in New York and beyond, there may not be enough tenants to fill all of the soundstages and production studios being built. That’s especially true as consolidation comes for the entertainment industry.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the square footage of Robert De Niro and Wildflower’s soundstage in Queens.

Holden Walter-Warner