East End Studios Secures $193M Loan for Sunnyside Campus
07.26.2023 | GlobeSt

East End Studios Secures $193M Loan for Sunnyside Campus

Queens remains the frontrunner in New York City’s burgeoning film production industry.

East End Studios has secured at $193M construction loan for the development of the latest film production facility in the borough, a 275K SF studio known as Sunnyside Campus, which is located in the Queens neighborhood of the same name.

Canyon Partners Real Estate and JPMorgan co-originated the senior loan for the Class A facility, which will feature three ground-floor sound stages, each with a 75K SF floorplan, 37-foot clearance heights, with a 15K SF rooftop flex-stage with 26-foot clear heights.

The ground-up studio development also will include 125K SF of production and office space and eight loading bays for full-sized trucks.

Located on an entire city block between Queens Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway, Sunnyside Campus is scheduled to be completed in Q1 2025.

The Empire State recently expanded it Film Tax Credit to incentivize TV productions to relocate to NYC. According to Pat Swinney Kaufman, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the television industry in NYC accounts for 6.5% of the metro’s GDP.

Over in Astoria, in February, city officials, including Mayor Eric Adams and Queens Borough President Donavan Richards, gathered next door to the historic Steinway & Sons piano factory on 19th Street to celebrate the topping off of the new Wildflower Studios production studio backed by Robert De Niro and his son, Raphael.

The $600M Astoria studio village will feature 11 sound stages and additional production space. Its completion this year will mark the arrival of the third major film production studio in the borough, joining Silvercup Studios in Long Island City—built at the site of the famous local bread bakery—and Kaufman Astoria Studios, the original home in 1920 of Paramount Pictures, in Astoria.

In September 2020, Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital purchased Silvercup Studios; in November 2021, the partnership acquired Kaufman Astoria Studios. Steiner Studios operates facilities in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Sunset Park.

Wildflower, which De Niro helped finance, acquired the site from Steinway & Sons in February 2020, cutting a deal that will allow the piano factory to remain an occupant in about half of the bulding.

The studio village at Wildflower will include a carpentry studio, dressing rooms, offices and a commissary, according to a report in the Queens Eagle. The project also has committed to build a park on the Luyster Creek waterfront off the East River across from Riker’s Island.

The project became mired in a labor dispute when unions rallied outside the construction site last year, claiming that only 20% of the construction workers were union labor. Following the rally, union labor was increased to 50% on the construction site and Wildflower committed to employ more than 1,000 union employees when the studio is fully operational.

None of the studios mentioned above will be fully operational until the actors and writers’ unions settle their strike with TV and motion picture film production studios, which the governor of California reportedly is trying to mediate.