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Old Navy, new H’w’d

Tribeca, Silvercup take center stage

NEW YORK — Mayor Rudy Giuliani today will confirm long-rumored plans to turn 15 acres of the Brooklyn Navy Yard into 12 soundstages in a deal that is expected to cost $150 million.

In an unrelated announcement, Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios will be expanding, adding five new 16,000-square foot soundstages.

Tribeca Films’ Robert De Niro, who has been the driving force behind the Navy Yard project, is expected to take part in today’s announcement with Tribeca partner Jane Rosenthal. Vornado Realty trust chairman Steve Roth and Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein will also attend the press conference, scheduled to take place at the gates of the Navy Yard.

There are expected to be two major announcements at the press conference. The first is the signing of a letter-of-intent between De Niro and Vornado and the city to build the facility. The second is to announce an agreement between the company that will own the studio and Weinstein to make Miramax the studio’s main tenant.

Hollywood shuffle

The proposed studio, outlined at 700,000 square feet, could potentially dwarf other Gotham stages. The studio may feature soundstages that, at 48,000 square feet, could compete with the most lavish Hollywood productions.

That possibility has members of the Gotham creative community buzzing.

Said SAG New York exec director John Sucke, “As a leader in New York’s efforts to increase film and television production in the city, Screen Actors Guild would like to salute SAG member Robert De Niro, Steve Roth and Harvey Weinstein in the development of the studio facilities at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This exciting new venture will provide work for — and take advantage of — the incredible talent pool of SAG members in New York.”

The current deal for the studio has De Niro, Weinstein and Vornado putting up approximately $37 million. The Giuliani administration will help finance the project with the $25 million loan, and the city-run Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation is expected to pitch in $8 million.

As for the additional money, sources tell Daily Variety that the Washington, D.C.-based Union Labor Life is indeed poised to make the loan despite claims earlier in the week of not having heard of the project. A company spokesperson did not return repeated calls Friday and over the weekend.

Silver lining

Silvercup Studios, currently a 250,000-square foot, 13-studio lot housed in a converted bread factory at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, will be expanding, adding five new 16,000-square foot studios.

The expansion comes at a time when the current Silvercup is running at near full capacity. It’s the full-time home to HBO’s “Sex in the City” and “The Sopranos” and the soundstage for hundreds of commercials and such soon-to-be-released feature films as Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy” and Meryl Streep’s “Fifty Violins.”

Construction on the $20 million expansion project is under way. The new studios will be called Silvercup East. The five new Silvercup East soundstages, each of which will be larger then any of the company’s current stages, are expected to be operational by midsummer.

At approximately 450,000 square feet, the expanded Silvercup will be the largest film and television production studio in New York. Both the Chelsea Pier Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens have six soundstages and are regularly booked solid..

Said Silvercup studios prexy Stuart Suna, “Silvercup Studios East will provide filmmakers and television production companies what they need most — a collection of large, tall studios in a single complex, with all the acquired amenities. Until now, no complex in the region offered as many studios of this size and height.”