Kaufman Astoria Studios sparks Astoria development

Film, television production studio redeveloping own space, building 33-unit residence

Kaufman Astoria Studios at 34-12 36th Street
Kaufman Astoria Studios at 34-12 36th Street

Kaufman Astoria Studios President Hal Rosenbluth wants to leverage the 500,000-square-foot complex as an anchor for real estate development in the neighborhood.

In expansion mode itself, Kaufman opened a back lot in December that is the city’s only outdoor stage facility, and will redevelop a neighboring parking lot and gas station into a new sound stage within the next two years. It is also building 33 apartments at A Nearby Property On 35th Street, and a string of commercial tenants are trickling in as well.

“When we first redeveloped the studio back in 1980, the plan was not only to build a world-class film and television production center that would continue the studio’s legacy and bring more productions to New York, but to also revitalize this corner of Astoria,” George Kaufman, a real estate developer who is majority owner of the studios, told the Wall Street Journal.

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Queens flea market LIC Flea & Food, in a space rented from the studio, is setting up a market that will operate every Sunday for eight consecutive weekends from May 4, featuring 70 vendors.

“It came through conversations about the community, discussions about [Kaufman Astoria Studio’s] vision for the neighborhood,” Joshua Schneps, LIC Flea & Food founder, told the Journal. The studio, he said, is “trying to make Astoria a destination.”

Mexican eatery Maizal Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar opened at 32-07 34th Avenue, and owner Leo Zelaya plans to open an another restaurant this summer, according to the Wall Street Journal. [WSJ]Julie Strickland