Apple TV+ signs big lease at Kaufman Astoria Studios

Tech giant’s streaming service is taking 90K sf of soundstage and office space

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Kaufman Astoria Studios at 34-11 36th Street in Astoria (Getty; ONstate Kaufman)
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Kaufman Astoria Studios at 34-11 36th Street in Astoria (Getty; ONstate Kaufman)

UPDATED, Jan. 29, 2020, 1:25 p.m.: Apple TV+ is coming to a soundstage near you — if you live in Astoria.

The tech giant’s streaming service has leased about 90,000 square feet of space at ONstage, the newest soundstage and production facility at Kaufman Astoria Studios, according to sources. The deal quietly closed last year, making it one of the largest leases in Queens in 2020.

The six-story, 150,000-square-foot building at 34-11 36th Street — between 34th and 35th Avenues — was completed last year. Apple TV+ will occupy the 35,000-square-foot ground floor soundstage, which has 30-foot ceilings. The content provider will also occupy another 40,000 square feet of production space on the ground and fourth floors, and 15,000 square feet of office space on the fifth floor.

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Terms of the lease were not immediately available, but marketing materials viewed by The Real Deal show that the remaining floor-and-a-half of office space at ONstage is asking $55 per square foot. The L-shaped sixth floor has five terraces across nearly 35,000 square feet, which can be divided, while the fifth floor has 15,000 square feet and a large terrace. Ceilings are nearly 14-feet high on each floor.

Apple will have spaces for productions, offices, editing facilities, dressing rooms with bathrooms, costume areas, pantries and lounges. Building filings show the upper floor spaces are in the midst of being completed. Architect Gluck+ designed the building, which also has an underground garage that holds more than 110 cars for staff and crew.

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Apple has been filming “Dickinson,” based on the life of Emily Dickinson, at another studio space within the Kaufman campus.

JRT Realty Group represented Kaufman in the Apple transaction and both declined comment. Apple did not respond to an email request for comment.

The demand for production space from streaming giants such as Hulu, Netflix and Disney have made soundstages an attractive investment, with institutional investors increasingly entering the market. And New York state has also encouraged the industry with 25 percent of production costs eligible for tax credit through 2025.

Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital last year purchased New York City’s largest film studio, Silvercup Studios, for $500 million. Brothers Stuart and Alan Suna sold the film studio, which the family founded decades ago. It has three campuses in Long Island City, Queens and the Bronx spanning 10.4 acres.

Meanwhile, Robert De Niro and his son, Douglas Elliman agent Raphael De Niro, are partnering with producer Jane Rosenthal on a 625,000-square-foot studio in Astoria. Their company, Wildflower studios, paid $72 million for the site at 87 19th Avenue last year. Starchitect Bjarke Ingels is designing the $400 million project.

Correction: This story previously misstated that the Kaufman Organization developed the building.

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