$375 million studio to bolster N.Y. prods

Project to be named Studio City New York

New York’s production comeback trail is getting some fresh landscaping.

The city’s pic TV and commercials biz — which have been slower in recovery than their Hollywood counterparts — got some fresh momentum Feb. 28 with the announcement that a consortium of investors including Lehman Brothers, Hines, the PB Group and Pacifica Ventures have committed an estimated $375 million to develop and construct a full-service, 700,000-square-foot, 15-story studio complex in the heart of Manhattan.

Project, to be named Studio City New York (SCNY) and located on the square block between 44th and 45th Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues, will break ground by year’s end. It could be open for business by the end of 2004.

“We did not want to come out and say what we were doing until we did it,” Richard Benowitz, managing principal for the PB Group, tells Variety. “But now I can say we are building a vertical Hollywood lot right in the center of Manhattan. You will be able to do your entire production right in the heart of the city.”

Benowitz says SCNY will have more than 70,000 square feet of stages, which includes seven stages ranging in size from 4,000 to 30,000 square feet. An acre on the building’s ninth floor will be designated as a ‘backlot” for location shooting and exterior shots. Penthouse will be a special zone dedicated to key talent and execs.

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