Duo constructs studio in West Toronto

The U.K.’s Pinewood Studios Group and Toronto-based Castlepoint Developments have regrouped to construct a new 100,000-square-foot studio complex in West Toronto.

The Toronto Star reported Saturday that the two companies indeed a deal last week to build the new facility, at an estimated cost of C$35 million ($30.8 million), with an eye to attracting more international lensing to the city.

Toronto could use a shiny new facility. Labor instability, a paucity of high-end studio space and a more-valuable Canadian dollar made 2006 a dismal year . Production in the city was down 21% from 2005 to $615 million.

In addition, one of the larger soundstages in Toronto, managed by Cinespace, closed in February, repping about 20% of available studio space.

Pinewood and Castlepoint partnered in 2004 on an unsuccessful bid for another major studio project in Toronto’s east end lakefront owned by the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO). The contract for that studio, dubbed FilmPort and currently under construction, went to Toronto Film Studios.

The Pinewood-Castlepoint facility, located on land that was previously an auto parts manufacturer at Bloor St. West and Lansdowne in Toronto’s West end, is slated to open by the end of 2008.

In other news, the membership of ACTRA, the union repping the majority of Canadian thesps, voted Friday to accept the conditions of its new Independent Production Agreement with producers. The union staged a strike for six weeks early in the year.

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