Netflix nears deal for huge Jersey Shore studio

Streaming giant is top bidder for 300-acre former Army site

Reed Hastings (Getty)
Reed Hastings (Getty)

Netflix may be cutting its production budget, but it still sees real estate as an investment with substantial return.

The streaming giant has been chosen as the top bidder for nearly 300 acres of land in New Jersey, in the boroughs of Oceanport and Eatontown, the New York Times reported.

The site, about 50 miles south of New York City and formerly occupied by the Army garrison Fort Monmouth, could become a massive production studio on the Jersey Shore.

Terms of the deal are not final, and further government approvals would be needed, but Netflix and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appear optimistic.

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“If our plans are approved, we hope to build a facility that will create significant economic impact and job growth for New Jersey,” Netflix reportedly said in a statement. Murphy was reported to be “thrilled” and looking forward to working with Netflix.

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The site of the potential production studio was appraised at $54 million by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, although other developers have offered more than $100 million for just 89 acres of the 1,126-acre Army base, the Times reported.

The studio would become Netflix’s second-largest production facility, after its New Mexico site. Netflix opened a 170,000-square-foot studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, last year. Ownership spares Netflix from having to rent sound stages from as many private operators, for which there is tremendous competition from other streaming services.

New York has been the primary East Coast state for movie and television production this century, thanks to a generous tax credit that has reached $420 million a year. The massive subsidy, which began as a temporary, $25 million-a-year measure to build a critical mass of talent in New York City, has essentially become permanent thanks to repeated extensions by the state legislature.

The subsidy has led to a proliferation of sound stages in New York City — such as Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios, and Steiner Studios — and a few upstate.

It was not immediately clear what incentives New Jersey will provide Netflix to lure it to the Garden State.

– Orion Jones