New York City's largest film production facility is getting a third home in the Bronx.
Silvercup Studios is expanding to 295 Locust Ave. in the Port Morris section of The Bronx.
The 90,000-square-foot space, bought for $15 million, will undergo a $20 million renovation into sound stages with state-of-the-art equipment by June 2016, according to Silvercup president Stuart Suna.
The expansion, first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, will not only provide more space for New York-based productions, Suna said, but a jolt to the local economy.
"We have all these incredible stories about New York that are actually shot in L.A.," he said. "We want to make sure the next Friends, the next big show is shot in New York City."
Most of the building's existing shell will be kept, including the building's 52-foot-high ceilings which Suna cited as ideal for studios. The building, built in 2002, was bought by Smith Electric Vehicles in 2011 but regulations stopped the company from being able to relocate there. The space will be in addition to Silvercup's two Queens locations.
The expansion is in part due to the demand for production space created by the New York State Film Tax Credit, which provides a 30-35% refund credit on production and post-production expenses, Suna said, as well as other benefits from shooting on-location. "The Bronx has a lot of great location shots for T.V.," he said. "And it's much more economical. We can use these incredible spaces in the Bronx, and it's easier to get to Westchester."
The building is expected to be ready for use next June, when Suna says a number of new shows will begin filming in New York because of the tax credit. But big-budget production companies aren't the ones that will be seeing the cash. "You're creating blue collar jobs in New York," Suna said.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., said the expansion was going to "help us continue to rebrand our borough and showcase the transformative development we have seen over the past decade," and that he looks "forward to working with them on this expansion, and to make this project work for all Bronxites."