Netflix bids on 289-acre land in New Jersey

Gary Barnett’s Extell also eyeing Fort Monmouth tract

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings (Getty Images, iStock)
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings (Getty Images, iStock)

Netflix is officially in the running for a large tract of land in New Jersey. So is one of New York City’s biggest developers.

The streaming giant bid on the so-called “Mega Parcel” in Fort Monmouth on Monday, NJ.com reported. Bidders had until Monday at noon to submit proposals for the 289-acre land, a former Army base made available through the Fort Monmouth Revitalization Authority’s request for offers.

Details on the bid were not available, but Netflix would likely be looking at turning the land into a production facility. The property is not barren, however, and includes the 100,000-square-foot McAfee Center.

There’s also Fort Monmouth’s parade grounds, a World War II memorial and Cowan Park. All of those historic features will need to be preserved by the winning bidder.

Netflix has some competition, though, as it was one of four bids were submitted for the land. One of them came courtesy of Extell Acquisitions, an affiliate of Gary Barnett’s Extell Development. Extell led part of the development at New Jersey’s Pier Village before selling its 50 percent stake in two completed phases of the project to Kushner Companies in 2020.

The other bidders for the land were Mega Parcel Development LLC and RDR Partners, a venture between Russo Development, Dinallo Development and River Development Equities. Officials warned the selection process could take several months.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has been pushing to make the state more friendly for film and television production. Studios are looking to take advantage, whether they are intrigued by the proximity to New York City or lucrative tax breaks reauthorized by the state in 2017.

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Last month, Great Point Studios reportedly started developing the Lionsgate Newark project at the former site of Seth Boyden Court in the namesake city. The $100 million hub is expected to span 15 acres and open by March 2024. It will include six soundstages and space for set building, editing, catering and crew trucks.

Film facilities are also in the works in West Orange and Bayonne.

Soundstage square footage in New York and New Jersey has increased 14 percent since the start of last year, according to CBRE. The states combine for nearly 3 million square feet of sound stages and film areas. Another 1 million square feet of sound stages is on the way.

Netflix’s motivation for bidding on the land is unconfirmed, but after seeing its stock crater amid one of its worst quarters, there’s likely an effort underway to make cuts to production costs — renting sound stages is not cheap.

[NJ.com] — Holden Walter-Warner