While Robert De Niro hasn’t yet turned Tribeca into a studio backlot, his Tribeca Film Center is beginning to spark downtown film activity.

Despite instability in New York film and real estate, Stable Films, a five-story production center located several blocks from the Tribeca Center, officially opens its doors in April.

According to owner David Irving, the center won’t compete with De Niro, but rather grow the production community by offering three things his neighbor doesn’t: a two-story-high soundstage, editing facilities and much more affordable rents. He’s already booked his first tenant: a production company formed by actor John Malkovich with producers Andy Karsch (“Prince Of Tides”) and Russ Smith (“Queens Logic”).

“When I bought the building and started doing this, I didn’t know about De Niro,” said Irving, an attorney turned tv and video producer. “Obviously we can’t compete with the high-profile studio projects generated there, like ‘Bonfire Of The Vanities.’ There’s room for others, and I hope that we can work with them.”

Irving developed the space with Joe Beirne, a production consultant who is his partner in Stable Films – a production company which will be based in the space. The five-story converted stable, which overlooks the Hudson, is small but distinctive. The cobblestone trails on which horses once trod line the hallways of each floor. There are 15 offices, the two-story-high soundstage, a makeup room and an apartment with a terrace. The fixtures are all cedar, the walls brick.

Irving said he’s invested more than $1 million in the spot, but isn’t looking to make it back renting offices: “We’re looking at making money on projects generated here.”

Karsch, who just completed his work on “Prince Of Tides,” said he will house his Longfellow Prods, there and use the space as a base for his next film, an untitled New York-based film directed by John Lurie, and another project to be helmed by Malkovich.

Karsch didn’t sign a lease so he could hang out with a growing downtown film crowd, he said.

“We booked it because it was beautiful, very economical, and I like the feel of being downtown. I’m not really interested in the concentration of film people. I just like looking out the window watching boats go by.”

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