Kaufman Astoria Studios buys Queens entertainment complex for $45M

Forest City Ratner built the movie theater that occupies the site in 1999

United Arts Kaufman Astoria 14 Theater at 35-01 37th Street and Kaufman Astoria Studios
United Arts Kaufman Astoria 14 Theater at 35-01 37th Street and Kaufman Astoria Studios

UPDATED: June 15, 3:37 p.m.: Less than a week after filing new building plans at its Queens film and TV production complex, Kaufman Astoria Studios is expanding its real estate holdings in the area.

The company paid $45 million for 35-50 38th Street, 35-01 37th Street and 35-30 38th Street in Astoria, currently the site of the United Artists Kaufman Astoria 14 movie theater, according to public records.

One of the seller, Forest City Ratner, bought the property in 1998 and completed the 84,000-square-foot theater in 1999 after buying the land from Kaufman Astoria the previous year. The developer and its partner Madison International Realty maintained a licensing agreement with Kaufman Astoria, which owns a 10-soundstage production facility nearby.

Neither party could be immediately reached for comment, so it’s not clear what Kaufman Astoria has planned, but it may be connected with the company’s recent expansion efforts.

Kaufman Astoria filed plans last week to build two new stages at the complex, on the corner of 34th Avenue and 36th Street, totaling more than 24,000 square feet. The move comes in response to a wider boom in entertainment production in the city, largely fueled by a $420 million annual tax credit provided by the state.

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“Money Monster,” the Jodie Foster-directed film starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts was recently filmed at the complex. The Netflix prison drama “Orange is the New Black” is also filmed there.

The company recently branched into residential development, debuting “the Marx” at 34-32 35th Street last year, with units selling for between $600,000 and $1 million.

Forest City Ratner and joint venture partner Greenland Group are currently shopping equity stakes in some of their 15 buildings at the Pacific Park complex.

Madison International Realty was added as a seller.