New York City could be getting another film and television studio to help the five boroughs deal with the influx of Hollywood productions.
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) are asking developers and companies to pitch them on ways to develop nearly 200,000 square feet of waterfront real estate in Sunset Park into a dedicated film/television production, sound-recording, media production, and related services and industries. The move comes as New York City is experiencing a production boom thanks to the state’s $420 million annual incentive for films and shows that shoot in the Empire State. In recent months, the city has played host to feature films such as Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn” and television shows such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Billions.”
“The basic health of the industry in New York City is just extraordinary,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “There’s more production going on here than ever in our history. We are at capacity and we’re bursting at the seams to accommodate all the productions.”
They’re also hoping that proposals will include ideas about ways to advance gender equity and diversity both in front of and behind the camera. That push for greater inclusion comes as the media industry has been criticized for its hiring practices. Despite a public push for pay equity and more opportunities for minorities, films and television shows are still being largely made by white men.
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“Broadly speaking in the work force, but more explicitly in the entertainment industry, there is a serious, serious problem with a lack of female representation,” said Glen. “We want to promote the health of the entertainment sector in New York, but we want to do it in a way that reflects our values.”
Glen said the city is not offering specifics about how the diversity portion of the proposals will play out.
“We’re not going to be too prescriptive,” she said. “We just want to chip away at a serious problem.”
The space will be located in the Made in New York Campus at Bush Terminal. The production facility is expected to be a for-profit enterprise, and officials say they aren’t wedded to it being a film or television production house. They are also open to proposals for video and photo shooting facilities, sound-recording spaces, and hubs for emerging media sectors such as AR and VR.
The Made in New York campus is the brainchild of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration. With a $136 million investment from the city, the hope is to turn this riverfront area in Brooklyn into a center for garment manufacturing, media production, and supporting industries. Glen said there are some existing incentives that are available to companies hoping to work on the production facility, and the city is open to proposals that involve requests for some kind of tax incentive. However, they are not offering one to developers specifically for this project.
The first step is a request for proposal (RFP), which the city hopes to receive by November 2. It will allow interested parties to tour the space on Aug. 15. Glen believes it is possible that construction could take place as early as 2019.