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Gold Coast Studios offers free space for army stories

A new studio on Long Island is looking to attract business with a novel proposal: support the armed forces, and we’ll support you.

Gold Coast Studios topper Lyndsey Lostritto is offering a month of free space to television shows and features “that will help Americans learn more about the challenges and needs of military families.” She’s doing it, in large part, because her fiance is deployed in Afghanistan.

Lostritto met USMC First Lt. Austin Laverty three years ago. “He did the ROTC program at Villanova U., and we met when we were seniors,” she said. No, that’s not a typo — Lostritto is 24 and commands 40,000 square feet of space that used to belong to Cold War-era defense contracting combine Grumman Aerospace (now half of Northrop Grumman) in Bethpage, N.Y., but has gone unused since the 1990s.

That 40,000 square feet — mostly refurbished aircraft hangars — is set to become 100,000 by the end of the year, and the facility has already racked up some high-profile credits. The pilot for ABC’s “Pan Am” was shot there; Sam Worthington starrer “Man on a Ledge” was the studio’s first big get and helped Lostritto learn the ins and outs of building to suit a movie shoot.

“When we were approached to do ‘Man on a Ledge,’ we kind of did whatever they asked, so it was custom-built for them,” Lostritto said. “But we said, ‘We’re gonna leave all of that here, and use it for the next studio that comes along.’ ”

Now, the facility — including its new soundstage, one with 50-foot-high ceilings — is ready for filmmakers looking to take advantage of the Empire State’s 30% tax credit.

As for how Gold Coast’s “Joining Forces” Initiative came about, Lostritto said she was particularly moved by Michelle Obama’s appeal to the entertainment industry earlier this year. “She went to Hollywood to get the producers, the directors, the actors involved, because the media has so much to do with the way people understand the world,” Lostritto said. “And she wants people to understand the sacrifices that the military is making.”

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