When real estate magnate Doug Steiner unveiled plans to build a Hollywood-style film studio along the East River inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1999, “people said we were crazy to be doing this in Brooklyn,” he says. “Now the joke’s on them,”
Since opening in 2004, Steiner Studios has bustled with film, television and commercial production — so much so that last spring Steiner added five soundstages for a total of 10. Now 355,000 sq. ft., Steiner Studios is the largest studio complex outside Hollywood.
Films such as “Inside Man,” “Enchanted,” “Sex and the City,” “The Nanny Diaries” and “Spider-Man 3” and TV series including “Damages,” “Bored to Death,” and “In Treatment” have all shot at Steiner. The new Sony Pictures Television production “Made in Jersey,” which premiered in September on CBS, shoots there, as do HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and “Girls.”
When Eugene Kelly, co-executive producer of “Boardwalk Empire,” was investigating studio space in New York City, he found the sheer size of Steiner appealing — not to mention the fact that many of the city’s other production facilities were already booked.
“I was learning towards Steiner because we’re a big production,” he explains. “On an average day, we have 300-500 people, so you need a facility that can accommodate that kind of volume comfortably.”
Situated on 20 acres, Steiner boasts editing suites, mill shops and prop storage, as well as on-site parking, a full commissary, a screening room and lighting and grip services.
“The people who come here get all of the convenience and functionality of suburban Los Angeles on the waterfront in Brooklyn in the heart of New York City,” boasts Steiner, who has bigger ambitions for the studio.
In August, he announced a partnership with the nonprofit Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. to convert an old hospital in the Navy Yard into a 50-acre “media campus,” which would include 100,000 sq. ft. of stages and an academic center for film students. The project, which is contingent on city, state and federal financing, would reportedly cost close to $400 million and take more than a decade to complete.
Expansion plans include an underwater stage and the only back lot on the East Coast to feature a New York City streetscape.