Lionsgate May 17 announced it has partnered with Great Point Studios, a studio investment/management business specializing in film and television infrastructure, and The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, for the creation of a 12-acre, $125 million production facility in Newark.
The facility will be owned and operated by Great Point Studios. As the facility’s long-term anchor tenant, Lionsgate will receive naming rights to the studio. NJPAC will manage public affairs and community relations for the studio and create educational programs and internships for Newark high school and college students.
The facility will be the first purpose-built studio in New Jersey specifically constructed for TV and film production. It will be located in Newark’s South Ward at the site of the former Seth Boyden Housing site, which is located near Newark Liberty International Airport, the Port of Newark, NJ TRANSIT, the PATH system, and several major highways. Operations are expected to begin in late 2024.
“This is a great opportunity to scale our East Coast studio footprint with our partners … to support our robust film and television production,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. “Lionsgate Studios Newark is also an important part of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, enabling us to create hundreds of jobs, provide educational opportunities to local students and contribute to the economic revitalization of the South Ward of Newark.”
Indeed, Lionsgate had 14 new television pilots picked up for series last year, while 16 current series were renewed for additional seasons. Lionsgate also produced 21 feature films in 2021 despite ongoing pandemic conditions affecting production.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the facility would provide jobs for more than 14,000 qualified union members in the region.
“The introduction of the Lionsgate Newark Studio not only promotes the economic vitality of our state, but also provides good jobs and access to opportunity for all South Ward community members,” Murphy said.
Great Point Studios founder Robert Halmi, founder of the Hallmark Channel and a producer of more than 400 film and television projects, said the 300,000 square-foot complex would include production stages ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, offices, support space and parking for 400 cars and 65 trucks.
The facility 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. It is anticipated to create more than 600 new long-term jobs, with priority for positions going to residents of Newark, and generate more than $800 million of annual economic impact for Newark and New Jersey.
“Given the rise in studio production post-COVID, we are confident that expanding our studio program into New Jersey will be a welcome addition,” Halmi said.