The City of New York and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) recently announced the expansion of the public-private partnership venture with Vornado Realty Trust to also include private equity firm Blackstone and real estate company Hudson Pacific Properties.
The joint venture will create Manhattan’s first purpose-built sound stage studio campus. Located at Pier 94, the film production project will include several soundstages averaging about 14,000 square feet each, as well as office space, writers’ rooms, and support facilities. What’s more, the project will also add new public restrooms to Hudson River Park; an 1,850-square-foot community amenity space; 25,000 square feet of waterfront open space and pier access; and safety improvements to the bikeway.
While New York City boasts a notable film industry background and has grown to be one of the largest studio sites in the country, the market remains tight in terms of supply and has thus far lacked a presence in Manhattan.
In addition to creating an estimated 1,300 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs — on top of contributing more than $6 billion to the local economy throughout the next 30 years — the project will also roll out workforce development and training programs to support local residents connecting with opportunities in film, television, commercial and other media production.
As part of the deal, Vornado contributed its long-term leasehold for Pier 94 to the venture and will own 49.9% of the project, as well as be responsible for development. Meanwhile, Hudson Pacific will own 25.6% and provide design oversight and manage the facility’s leasing and operations, while Blackstone’s institutional Core+ Real Estate strategy will own 24.5%. The three private entities partnered to contribute a total of $350 million to the project, which has been dubbed Sunset Pier 94 Studios and is estimated to be completed by the end of 2025.
“Transforming Pier 94 into a world-class film and television production studio delivers multiple goals that are key to our continued recovery — economic development, local job creation, and public realm improvements,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce, Maria Torres-Springer. “This partnership between NYCEDC, Vornado, Hudson Pacific, and Blackstone will quickly revitalize this key waterfront asset and fortify our position as the capital of film and media.”
Vornado acquired Pier 94 and the neighboring Pier 92 in 2008 and had previously been selected by the NYCEDC to redevelop and expand the West Side trade show facility into 355,000 square feet of modern trade show and conference space that could hold at least 40 conventions annually. However, Vornado failed to materialize those plans and even reverted ownership of Pier 92 back to the city after deeming it structurally unsound. Subsequently, Vornado and the city amended the lease to allow for the film studio that’s set to break ground this year.
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