Lights, Camera, Action! York Studios Breaks Ground in the Boogie Down

By Pope Jackson

Soundview – June 6th, 2017

The entertainment industry made a big move into the Bronx on Tuesday with the ground breaking of York Studios’ Michaelangelo Campus. A 10 acre lot off the Bruckner Expressway will be the spot of York’s $100 million dollar, 350,000 square foot production complex. Production will take place in two phases with the first phase expected to be complete by October 2018. The first phase features 5 sound stages on 170.000 square feet and has an expected cost of $45 million.

NYS Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Deputy Mayor Alicia Glenn on behalf of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Julie Menin of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and additional officials joined executives of York Studios to break ground on the Bronx’s state of the art film and television production complex. The project is set to receive $36 million in conditional tax benefits over the next 25 years from the New York City Industrial Development Agency.

“York Studios’ Michaelangelo Campus is unique as it is the first ground-up construction project of a state-of-the-art television and film production facility in the Bronx.” said York Studios Chief Executive Officer John Kalafatis.

York Studios currently owns and operates a 40,000 square foot location in Maspeth, Queens home to the CBS television show “Elementary”. Films such as “Non-Stop”, “John Wick”, “This Is Where I Leave You”, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, and “Godzilla” were also filmed there. With the varied landscapes and parks in the Bronx who knows what will make its home in the new production complex.

York Studios expects to meet the growing demands of studio space in the New York City area. Many new opportunities are expected with this venture. How much Bronxites will benefit from these opportunities remains to be seen. Along with the Politicians and press, community groups were on hand as well. Joan Barnes, Board member of Friends of Soundview Park told “It’s important they know we exist.”

Soundview Park is literally right next to the studios construction site. Friends of Soundview Park is a community-based volunteer group working in this community since 2009, creating cultural programming, organizing clean ups, beautification projects, and a widely recognized annual summer arts festival.

Borough President Ruben Diaz said the new campus “reactivates a long-dormant site, creates new jobs and is another excellent example of the ongoing positive transformation that is taking place in communities all over The Bronx.” The expansion of York Studios is expected to generate nearly $100 million in new tax revenue for the Bronx, employ over 400 production industry professionals, and create hundreds of construction jobs.

As a side note, the campus is named after the son of one of York Studios’ Principals, young Michaelangelo was also on hand for the ground breaking. I grew up in Harlem and used to managed the Wiliamsburg Music Center- a performance space right on Bedford ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so watching this growth feels a little familiar. Nonetheless, I am hoping for the best- it’s exciting regardless. 
Images: Pope Jackson

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