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Lights, camera, action! City bringing TV and film production to S’Park

Coming soon: The Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment are seeking proposals to turn three-and-a-half football fields worth of space at Sunset Park’s forthcoming Made in New York campus into film and television production studios.
Brooklyn Paper
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Sunset Park is about to go Hollywood.

The city is seeking proposals to develop nearly three-and-a-half football fields’ worth of waterfront property into a film and television production facility at the forthcoming Made in New York Campus at Bush Terminal in Sunset Park, the Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment announced on Aug. 1.

Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) said the development — which officials said will create a third of the 1,500 total jobs they predict the campus will bring beginning in 2020 — will be a boon to the local economy and community.

“By providing 500 good-paying jobs and beautifying the surrounding streetscape and plazas, this facility will not only establish Bush Terminal as a creative hub, but also provide a place local residents can benefit from economically and recreation­ally,” Menchaca said.

Reps for the Economic Development Corporation — a quasi-governmental agency tasked with growing the city’s economy — said officials will prioritize proposals that focus on hiring locals and advancing gender equity, diversity, and inclusion within the media, adding that they envision using the space for film, television, video, and photo shoots as well as augmented- and virtual-reality production.

Applicants must have experience as both a developer and operator of film, television, sound-recording, or media-production facilities, and officials at the Economic Development Corporation will select a developer based on factors including the quality of the proposal, experience of the staff and subcontractors identified in the proposal, and the proposed fee, according to the request for proposals.

Last year, the city announced its plan to invest $136 million to build the film- and television-production building next to Bush Terminal Piers Park and turn a pair of dilapidated 42nd Street buildings, near First Avenue, into garment manufacturing centers. But proposals that “minimize or exclude” city funding will be given “strong preference” in the selection process, according to the Economic Development Corporation’s senior vice president of asset management, Julie Stein, who added that the respondent will be required to participate in the agency’s HireNYC program to ensure that jobs go to locals.

Proposals are due by 4 pm on Nov. 2, and the agency expects to announce a decision next year, Stein said.

The head of the Economic Development Corporation said the campus’ new jobs and focus on prioritizing diversity within media will make it a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

“Through this effort, we will create quality jobs, help advance gender equity, diversity and inclusion in the media production industry, and strengthen the local Sunset Park community,” said James Patchett, the agency’s president and chief executive officer.

Of course, if it’s actually going to keep locals employed and stimulate the neighborhood’s economy, the production facility will need to attract enough filmmakers and producers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised that a movie studio that the state built outside Syracuse for $15 million would create “at least 350 new high-tech jobs,” but the space was rarely used and the state sold it for $1 in June.

But the Sunset Park facility could be buoyed by the fact that more filmmakers have been flocking to Kings County in recent years: 32.5 percent of the 8,222 film permits the city issued last year were for shoots in Brooklyn, up from 28.8 percent of 6,910 total permits in 2012, according to the New York Post.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 12:27 pm, August 20, 2018
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