By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
Lionsgate Entertainment Company is expanding its presence in the Empire State. On Thursday September 5th, the movie production and distribution studio announced that it has struck a deal to build a new major production facility in Yonkers, New York. The company will be partnering with GREAT POINT CAPITAL, a media-focused investment fund run by Robert Halmi and Fehmi Zeko, to build a $100+ million, full service, modern entertainment complex. Lionsgate, headquartered in Santa Monica and founded in Canada in 1962, will become the long-term anchor tenant, with naming rights to the studio.
“We’re pleased to partner with the Great Point and National Resources teams on a modern film and television production complex that will provide a great home for many of our content creation initiatives,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “It’s rare to find a studio facility in such a prime New York metropolitan area location, and we look forward to being at the center of film and television production growth in the region.”
The proposed site, located in downtown Yonkers, plans to include three 20,000-square-feet stages, two 10,000-square-feet stages, a fully operational back lot. It is destined to become the premier movie and TV production facility in the tri-state area. Construction will begin this November, and the facility is slated to open in late Fall of 2020. “Given the dramatic rise in television production and the shortage of studio facilities in the New York area, a new, best-in-class production facility is an ideal investment for Great Point Capital. We are very proud that Lionsgate shares our vision and has come on board with our project,” Robert Halmi said.
National Resources also signed on as an important partner, and as the developer for the project. National Resources has 30 years of experience in design and construction in the NY area. It will be handling all phases of design and construction of the studio complex. “The City of Yonkers has been very supportive of Great Point Capital’s efforts regarding the studio facility. The growth and revitalization of Yonkers as well as its proximity to New York City make it an ideal location for a film studio,” said Joseph Cotter, President of National Resources.
As reported by Bloomberg News, the development site is considered to be in an “opportunity zone,” or low-income US community and therefore, the Lionsgate and its partners will reap substantial tax breaks on capital gains. The incentives are said to be the biggest effort in a generation to help U.S. communities that are struggling. The only question in the growing debate, is whether the breaks may benefit wealthy investors and corporations more than the poor of the local communities. Yonkers’ economy will undoubtedly benefit from money spent by the incoming cast and crew members for lodging, restaurants and other services. Locals will also be recruited for internships and jobs.
“This is a game changer for the City of Yonkers and is a testament to the ongoing revitalization of our waterfront,” said the Mayor of Yonkers, Mike Spano. “Yonkers already hosts dozens of on-location shoots every year with film days tripling over the last five years, so building a permanent sound stage here makes perfect sense. We are thrilled to have Lionsgate partner with Great Point Capital Management and National Resources to make this happen.”