Fifteen-Story Film/TV Studio Complex Set for N.Y.

Mar 4, 2002 12:00 PM, Reuters


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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The sprawl of a Hollywood movie lot will be compressed into a vertical version befitting Manhattan in a unique, 15-story complex devoted to film and TV studios and entertainment industry office space to be built on the West Side, developers said on Friday.

The complex, called Studio City New York (SCNY), will be built at a cost of $375 million on 11th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets west of Times Square, according to Richard Benowitz, the managing principal of the project, which has been seven years in the making.

"What we are building here is basically a community, a Hollywood lot done vertically instead of horizontally," said Benowitz, whose PB Group LLC is joining with Lehman Brothers, real estate developer Hines and Pacifica Ventures on the project.

The project is one of the city's first major "from the ground up" developments to be announced for construction in Manhattan since the Sept. 11 destruction of the World Trade Center.

"Studio City will produce a highly positive ripple effect that will benefit New York City's entire economy and solidify its position in the television/video production industry," said Manhattan Borough president C. Virginia Fields.

"This, in turn, will translate into jobs and countless new opportunities for many New Yorkers for years to come. At this troubled juncture in Manhattan's history, Studio City could not have happened at a better time."

Some 100,000 jobs were lost after the Sept. 11 attacks, contributing to a city budget deficit of nearly $5 billion.

Benowitz said he hoped construction of the sand-colored brick and glass structure on land purchased from the city would begin by the end of 2002, after a deal is struck with an anchor tenant, whose name would go on the building.

The anchor tenant will be expected to rent out more than half of the 400,000 square feet of permanent office space in the complex, said Lee Tomlinson of Pacific Ventures, who is in charge of marketing and sales.

Construction is expected to take about two years after the ground-breaking, Tomlinson said.

The 140,000 square feet of production space includes seven permanent sound stages. The high-rise also features a one-acre Rooftop Backlot on the ninth floor.

A five-star restaurant, health club, VIP apartments and ground floor retail shops are also part of the plan.

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