New Jersey Beefs Up Physical Production Infrastructure Through Deals with Netflix and Lionsgate

New Jersey has struck separate pacts with Netflix and Lionsgate to transform vacant properties and bring more studio production facilities to the Garden State.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled Dec. 21 that Netflix has submitted the winning bid for a redevelopment plan for the long-shuttered former Army facility in Fort Monmouth, N.J., about 50 miles east of Trenton.

The same day Lionsgate disclosed a pact with New Jersey Economic Development Authority to advance a plan to establish Lionsgate Newark Studios. That venture is billed as generating up to 600 jobs and up to $800 million in economic impact for Newark and the state.

“This transformative investment will serve as a cornerstone in our efforts to create a thriving industry from whole cloth,” said Murphy of the Netflix plan for the sprawling Fort Monmouth property. “As a result of nearly a billion dollars in film production spending, New Jersey will further solidify its status as an emerging national leader in the television and film industries. Additionally, Netflix’s substantial direct investment will stimulate job creation and spark an entirely new ecosystem of housing, hotels, and ancillary businesses and services, bringing with it countless additional jobs and boosting the regional economy.”

According to Netflix and the state, the Fort Monmouth facility will create more than 1,500 “permanent production jobs” and more than 3,500 construction-related jobs. Netflix will commit $848 million in capital investments to develop the nearly 300-acre parcel into 12 soundstages as well as space for production offices and related support facilities. The campus is envisioned as having “community amenities” as well. Fort Monmouth has been “largely vacant,” per the state, for more than a decade.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer pointed to the potential for a Netflix-owned studio to “boost the local and state economy with thousands of new jobs and billions in economic output, while sparking a vibrant production ecosystem in New Jersey.”

The Lionsgate facility is touted as the state’s first-ever “purpose-built” TV and film production facility. Lionsgate has been named one of three official studio partners of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which gives the studio generous tax incentives to produce movies and TV shows in the state. It also allows Lionsgate to include more above-the-line salaries and related costs, from $15 million to $60 million depending on the size of the project, in tax credit applications.

The plan to build the Lionsgate Newark studio was unveiled in May as a partnership among the studio, Great Point Studios, headed by industry veteran Robert Halmi, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Construction on the 350,000 square foot development began in September. The studio is being built on the former site of the Seth Boyden public housing complex in Newark’s East Ward. The facility will have five soundstages and a host of post-production, props, set-building and support facilities, as well as catering and restaurants. It’s expected to be completed by September 2024.

“This is a wonderful development for the many entertainment industry workers and performers in New Jersey and for the state itself,” said Halmi. “It could not have come about without the help of Governor Phil Murphy, who recognized the importance of this vast project to Newark, the state and the region.”

Lionsgate and Great Point Studios are already in business on a similar production facility, Lionsgate Studios Yonkers, in Yonkers, N.Y.

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