Silvercup Studios Is Turning a Bronx Warehouse Into Its 3rd Production Complex


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The borough known as the birthplace of hip-hop will soon be expanding its entertainment credentials.

Silvercup Studios, the home for the television series “Girls,” “Person of Interest” and “Elementary,” among others, announced on Monday that it was converting a Bronx warehouse into a 115,000-square-foot complex for film and television productions. The $35 million project, which is being privately financed, is the first expansion for the company outside of Queens, where it runs two production studios.

“The Bronx is undergoing a tremendous revitalization right now,” said Alan Suna, the chief executive of Silvercup. “We’re excited to expand our studios here as the industry continues to grow and to bring with it high-quality production jobs and the resulting benefits from having this production work remain in New York.”

The new Bronx complex, at 295 Locust Avenue in the Port Morris neighborhood, will be called Silvercup North. It is scheduled to open by June 2016 with four production studios. Though it will be smaller in overall square footage than either of Silvercup’s two Queens sites, it will have unusually tall ceilings — 50 feet high — to accommodate shots from cranes and two-story sets, and also a 100-foot-wide floor span. The expansion was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Studio officials estimated that Silvercup North will bring about 400 production-industry jobs and 80 to 100 construction jobs to the Bronx, which has the highest unemployment rate of any borough in New York City. In addition, they said they planned to support local institutions, as they have in Queens.

Ed Garcia Conde, who runs the community blog Welcome2TheBronx, said he supported the new studio because it would create much needed jobs in the borough and bring in more people to patronize local businesses. He added, though, that it could also reinforce concerns of gentrification among local residents who were already facing rising rents.

“No one is really going to say no to a film studio,” he said. “But that cool factor is also something that could destroy the neighborhood, without that being the intention.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that “the film and television industries have historically offered good jobs with pathways to success for New Yorkers, and the expansion of this thriving industry will be hugely meaningful for Bronxites.”

Silvercup Studios joins a growing number of businesses that have moved to the Bronx in recent years, drawn by its large spaces, affordable rents and easy access to expressways and major subway and train lines. This year, Bronx borough officials revealed that York Studios planned to build a new film and television production complex on 10 acres of vacant land in the borough.

Port Morris, a former industrial neighborhood, has become a destination for artisanal spirits with the opening of two distilleries and a brewery. It is also the new home for the online grocer FreshDirect, which is moving its headquarters from Long Island City, Queens.

Stuart Suna, the president of Silvercup Studios, said his company chose the Bronx because it was “better priced” than Queens and Brooklyn, and would also provide television and film crews with easy access to locations north of the city, including Westchester County. “The film and TV industry is growing so much that we see an excellent opportunity to create more business and more jobs in New York City and New York State,” Mr. Suna said.

In addition, Mr. Suna said, there has been renewed interest in using the Bronx as a backdrop on television shows. Several have filmed scenes along the Grand Concourse, a wide boulevard often compared to the Champs-Élysées in Paris and dotted with Art Deco buildings.

Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, said he was thrilled to welcome Silvercup Studios to the borough.

“This expansion will not only bring new jobs and economic development to our borough,” Mr. Diaz said. “It will also help us continue to rebrand our borough and showcase the transformative development we have seen over the past decade.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/nyregion/silvercup-studios-building-production-complex-in-the-bronx.html

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