Great Point Studios Opens Lionsgate Studios; Announces $500M Expansion in Yonkers
Real Estate In-Depth | January 12, 2022
YONKERS—Great Point Studios officially opened the doors to its long-awaited Lionsgate Studios Yonkers on Jan. 11 at 45 Wells Ave. and announced that it will move forward with a more than $500-million expansion plan nearby.
The expansion project announced by Great Point Studios Founder and CEO Robert Halmi calls for a 1-million-square-foot facility that will feature more 20,000 square foot stages on one campus than any other facility in the Northeast. The campus will include a total of 11 soundstages: eight 20,000-square-foot stages, two 10,000-square-foot stages, and a 30,000 square-foot stage. It will also include parking for more than 750 cars and 100 trucks. Halmi also announced new long-term tenants for the facility, which include Lionsgate, Mediapro and Syracuse University.
When completed, the project on Wells Avenue in Yonkers will be the largest modern-built film and television production facility in the Northeast, according to Green Point Studios officials.
The campus will feature state-of-the-art film stages, post-production facilities, screening rooms, office space and support space. It will offer a full set of production services on site, including grip and electric, equipment, props, set building, restaurants, location catering, cleaning service, and security.
Three of the large stages and 500,000 square feet of office and support space are now open for business, while Great Point has also purchased approximately eight acres of additional land around the originally announced studio site. The expansion of additional stages and office space are already under construction and are scheduled to be completed in phases starting in September 2022 with total completion slated for December 2023.
Global content leader Lionsgate has expanded its role as anchor tenant, and will occupy seven of the complex’s 11 stages, along with office and support space. Besides its theatrical film presence, Lionsgate is producing more than 40 television shows for various broadcast outlets, including its own Starz platform.
“With demand for new content greater than ever and prime studio space at a premium, we’re pleased to partner with Great Point on the opportunity to become an anchor tenant of the Yonkers Studios,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “They will give our television and film productions state-of-the-art East Coast sound stages with great proximity to New York City, and we look forward to them becoming an important hub for our global production activities.”
Mediapro, a leading group in the global audiovisual sector, unique in content integration, production and audiovisual distribution, has also inked a long-term deal to be a key tenant on the site. Mediapro will take occupancy of its first stage later this year and they have options on two more of the planned expansion stages. Their first stage is expected to be completed this winter.
The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University has also come on as a partner at Lionsgate Studios. Syracuse University will work with Great Point Studios to create a distinctive learning and fully hands-on working experience for television, radio and film students. Beginning this month, the school will utilize the facility as a giant classroom and will have access to all stages and equipment at Lionsgate Studio Yonkers, Great Point Studios stated in an announcement.
The Newhouse NYC program is a specialized program for Newhouse students from all majors, placing them in NYC for a semester where they intern and take classes. This alliance will allow television, radio and film students enrolled in the Newhouse NYC program to become fully immersed in a production experience through coursework and hands-on internships. Undergraduate juniors and seniors will be part of the inaugural program.
“At the Newhouse School, we are always looking for ways to ensure that our students have access to front-line industry experiences,” said S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University dean Mark J. Lodato. “The immersive film environment at Lionsgate Studios Yonkers is visionary, and will propel our film experience, particularly on the East Coast. Thanks to our alumnus Robert Halmi and Great Point Studios, we are thrilled to be able to offer our film students the opportunity to learn and work at what will be one of the most cutting-edge media enterprises in the country.”
Great Point Studios founder Halmi called upon decades of experience as founder of the Hallmark Channel and a producer of more than 400 film and television projects to create a facility that fits the needs of these cutting-edge companies. “We have a shared vision for the future of the entertainment industry, and it’s reflected in every detail we put into this complex,” Halmi says. “Given the expected rise in studio production post-COVID, we are confident that expanding our Yonkers studio will attract quality tenants. We are proud that Lionsgate, Mediapro and Syracuse University share our vision and are strongly supporting our project.”
A key investment partner and project developer at Lionsgate Studios Yonkers is National Resources. The company has operated in the New York area for 30 years and has tallied up more than $1.5 billion in construction and redevelopment projects. National Resources will be responsible for all phases of development and construction of the studio complex. “We are very proud to work with Great Point Studios and Lionsgate to help change the production industry landscape,” says National Resources CEO, Joe Cotter. “Our combined efforts will help make the newly revitalized Yonkers a sought-after destination for talent from around the world.”
Great Point Studio’s institutional financial partner is an affiliate of Lindsay Goldberg, a private investment firm focused on partnering with entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses to help them grow.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said of the expansion project by Great Point Studios. “This state-of-the-art media complex will help complete the transformation of the Yonkers waterfront. Local commerce will benefit from the expected 1000+ people working at the studio complex daily. We look forward to welcoming Great Point Studios, Lionsgate and all of the new companies to Yonkers in the new year.”