SOUNDVIEW — And then there were two.
When Silvercup Studios opened up in 2016, it was the Bronx’s first movie and television studios in decades since the last production facility of its kind shut down in the 1970s.
Before Hollywood became the epicenter of America’s nascent film industry, New York City played a major role with the world’s first commercial motion picture exhibition right here in our city in 1894.
Many studios sprang up around the city including two in The Bronx: First Edison Studios in Tremont just north of Crotona Park (which opened in 1907 and eventually closed its doors in 1918) and Biograph Studios which ran from 1912 in Bedford Park until the 1970s (in 1956, after being closed for several years, it reopened as America’s largest film studio outside of Hollywood).
Now, York Studios, which actually announced its coming to a borough a year before Silvercup opened up shop, is gearing to open up their 175,000 film and television studio in Soundview next year solidifying The Bronx’s reputation as a place for the industry to do business once again.
With hit shows like Gotham, Orange is the New Black, and Pose already having filmed in our borough and HBO leasing a building to film the second season of Deauce, you can expect the number of shows coming to The Bronx to only increase with this new facility.
Construction began on the 9 stage $100 million facility in June 2017 and once operational is expected to create 400 jobs once fully operational.
The Commercial Observer writes:
“The new two-story, prefab structure, located at 1410 Story Avenue, sits on a 10-acre lot sandwiched between Soundview Park and the nearby Bruckner Expressway.
“The ground floor will house three stages sized at 15,000 square feet and two stages sized at 18,000 square feet. Ceiling heights will reach about 30 feet and the stages will feature full-length catwalks and busway systems which help facilitate the lighting of multiple sets. Each stage comes with an adjoining support space sized at either 5,000 or 8,000 square feet.
“The second floor will house 45,000 square feet of office space running along the building’s western edge, offering views of Hunts Point and the remaining development site. There will be private offices, conference rooms, and bullpens, as well as space for things like wardrobe, hair and makeup, and talent rooms.“
In 2015, when York Studios purchased the 10 acre lot located at 1410 Story Avenue along the banks of the Bronx River, Edwin Pagán, filmmaker and former board member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) said, “Film production has deep historical roots in the Bronx and the concept of a major film studio being built in the borough is a very intriguing proposition, and could, potentially, become a catalyst for long-term economic revitalization in the region.”
Pagán added, “The creative medium of film, with its varied disciplines and vocations, would provide an excellent opportunity for apprenticeship programs for the local community, especially youth and the many filmmakers who call the Bronx home. It would be great to see the studio create “shadow” training initiatives where young people are linked with mentors and receive hands-on production experience in set-building, lighting, makeup, wardrobe and other production crew responsibilities, with the ultimate goal of having them become part of the related unions and can build careers in the industry. We hope the investors have this kind of vision purpose-built into their overall long-term plans.”
We’re usually skeptical of such ventures into The Bronx after we were an afterthought for so many decades but this is something, if local residents in the film and television industry or those aspiring to enter the field, can take part as Pagán noted, should such opportunities arise.