The future site of Manhattan’s first purpose-built film and TV soundstages has added two blue-chip backers, private equity firm Blackstone and real estate company Hudson Pacific Properties.
Office space giant Vornado Realty Trust had already been aboard the Sunset Pier 94 Studios project, which has been in the works for several years. The three companies have now formed a private-public partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corp., committing a total of $350 million to the effort. The location along the Hudson River and the West Side Highway is about a mile north of Chelsea Piers, a long-established TV production hub. It is a few blocks west of the Broadway theater district and the studio homes of several late-night TV shows.
While overall production in New York (outside of the current shutdowns due to the writers and actors strikes) has been booming of late, it has mostly been doing so in Brooklyn and Queens, not in Manhattan. Other venues like Lionsgate’s new Great Point Studios in Yonkers have sprouted up near the city, and New Jersey has also been ramping up its efforts to serve New York’s production needs.
Billed as a “first-of-its-kind space,” Sunset Pier 94 will have six soundstages along with open riverfront areas and other community amenities when it is completed at the end of 2025. With construction expected to start in the coming weeks, developers say the project will create more than 1,300 construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs, contributing $6.4 billion to the local economy over the next 30 years. RBC and Ivanhoe Cambridge are providing $183 million in construction financing.
Plans for the 266,000-square-foot development include production control room facilities and 145,000 square feet of production support space and offices as well as onsite parking described as “ample.” Several stages will be equipped with technological infrastructure capable of handling virtual production.
“With our administration’s leadership, New York City is back – we have recovered 99% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, and visitors from across the world are returning to Broadway and Times Square,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release. “At the same time, from Willets Points in Queens to Kips Bay in Manhattan to Kingsbridge Heights in the Bronx, we are advancing bold economic development projects across the entire city that will create tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs in our communities, and the activation of Pier 94 will produce the same kinds of economic opportunities on the West Side of Manhattan. This project will bring critical, long-awaited investment to this public asset, turn an underutilized space into an economic driver, and improve public space and quality of life for New Yorkers.”