Kaufman Astoria Studios, the New York-based film and production hub, has been purchased by venture capital firms Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management.
Built in 1920, Kaufman Astoria Studios was the original home of Paramount Pictures and served as the backdrop to more than 100 silent films. More recently, “Sesame Street,” Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Irishman” and “Ocean’s 8” were filmed on sound stages at the Queens campus. The venue has more than 500,000 square feet of production space, including 11 sound stages, and New York City’s only studio backlot.
Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital have been expanding its footprint in the New York production market, newly acquiring Silvercup Studios in Long Island City and the Bronx. The venture’s independent studio assets on the west coast include The Culver Studios (where Amazon Studios shoots) in Los Angeles; Television City Studios (CBS’s broadcasting facility) in West Hollywood; the MBS Media Campus (home to James Cameron’s Lightstorm Studios); and Sony Pictures Animation Studios. Outside of the U.S., Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital have purchased Ardmore Studios in Dublin Ireland; Troy Studios in Ireland; The Wharf Studios London; and Eastbrook Studios, which is currently under construction and will soon be London’s largest studio complex.
“We are beyond thrilled to add Kaufman Astoria to our studio portfolio and excited to further its legacy as a quintessential destination for major motion pictures and television shows.” said Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners. “The studio has had a remarkable history over the last 90 years and has been an incredibly active and participating stakeholder in rejuvenating the entire Astoria neighborhood. We are excited to work with Hal Rosenbluth and the entire KAS team, as the studio continues to grow and excel as one of the best production facilities in the industry.”
Hal Rosenbluth, president and CEO of Kaufman Astoria Studios, says the company is “excited to start a new chapter in our 100+ year history.”
“Working with Michael, Craig and the MBS crew to grow the studio is the perfect fit we needed,” Rosenbluth said. “Since inception, the commitment and vision of George Kaufman has been paramount to revitalizing the greater Astoria community, ensuring that the film and production industry serves as a pillar and economic driver for arts, culture and local small businesses. Kaufman Astoria Studios looks forward to building on our great history and expanding on the landmark studios’ success. We are thrilled that Kaufman Astoria will continue to serve as an iconic studio within the growing New York film and television market.”
Craig Solomon, CEO of Square Mile Capital, adds, “The acquisition of the legendary Kaufman Astoria Studios by our investment partnership is another huge step forward as we continue to build a portfolio of iconic studio properties. As demand for facilities and production services surges, we will continue to seek more opportunities to serve the growing content marketplace.”
Kaufman Astoria was represented by Jefferies Group, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP for this transaction.