It will be ‘lights-camera-action’ as a film studio plans to set up shop in Port Morris.
Silvercup Studios announced that it would invest $35 million in the creation of a new studio complex called Silvercup North, transforming an existing modern warehouse at Locust Avenue and 140th Street into a full service, 115,000 square foot production facility.
The project would create an estimated 400 production jobs, as well as an additional 80 to 100 construction jobs, according to initial estimates.
“The Bronx is an incredible place of opportunity,” said Stuart Suna, president of Silvercup, adding that the borough offers a good value in terms of real estate prices and good transportation.
“We believe in the renaissance and future of the Bronx and New York City,” he said, adding that the new production facility in Port Morris could also lead to more on-location filming in places around the borough, as many television shows do between 30% and 50% of their filming on location, often near their home studio.
Silvercup Studios, founded in 1983, currently operates in Long Island City, producing films and numerous movies and television shows, including hits like Sex in the City, 30 Rock, Gossip Girl and The Sopranos, as well as dozens of motion pictures. Production companies rent the studio space.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation helped facilitate the deal, as did Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting.
“My office has been working to expand the film industry in the Bronx for several years, and we are thrilled to welcome Silvercup Studios to the mainland and their new home in Port Morris,” said Borough President Diaz. “This expansion will not only bring new jobs and economic development to our borough, it will also help us continue to rebrand our borough and showcase the transformative development we have seen over the past decade.”
Marlene Cintron, president of BOEDC, said that the studio space was originally built as a warehouse. She believes that Silvercup was attracted to it by its 50-foot ceilings which will allow for building taller sets and higher camera angles.
“It is a game changer,” said Cintron of the economic impact. “If you look to see what Silvercup did in Long Island City, their presence was a catalyst for turning a very sleepy community into a very vibrant one.”
As far as economic development, Cintron said that the facility should create jobs both through direct investment and ancillary positions related to supporting operations.
She anticipates that new studio jobs will be available to borough residents, and said she believes the existing workforce will need to grow.
She will encourage local hiring, and said that many of the jobs typically offered can start at $40 an hour and have union representation.
The former Murray Feiss property that Silvercup is taking was originally slated to be home to Smith Electric, an electric truck manufacturer that was to have set up shop in the borough in an expansion that did not come to fruition.
She also confirmed that the development of a film studio in Soundview by York Studios on an 11-acre site off Bronx River Avenue is on track, and that a third film studio is also exploring a location in the borough.