Lights! Camera! … Williamsburg?
A new Hollywood-style soundstage is close to opening on Kent Avenue — a movie studio that could soon bring music videos and TV shows to a waterfront area already popular with production companies.
The project is part of the expansion plans of Cine Magic International, a small stage production company in Soho that is building five soundstages on the former Kedem Winery near Broadway.
Cine Magic studio manager Phil Mavrigiannakis said his company’s goal is to have the “finest, newest production stage in New York City.”
“The Manhattan backdrop is just beautiful there,” said Mavrigiannakis. “The sun sets right behind the skyline. We’re hoping that’s going to be a big draw for us.”
Construction delays have pushed back the grand opening, but the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television and its state counterpart have been supportive.
“We want to be around for a very long time,” said Mavrigiannakis. “Business-wise, New York and Hollywood are constantly competing. We’d like to stay on top.”
The site was approved for a rezoning in June 2006, for 18- and 24-story towers with 450 units of housing, 20 percent of which are pegged at below-market rates, but the project has stalled along with the rest of the real-estate market.
Last week, the Real Deal reported that the developer of the site, Rector Hylan, applied on June 2 to renew construction permits for another three years, though Ward Dennis’s Williamsburg-based blog, Brooklyn 11211, noted that construction work had intensified in the past six months to build the sound stage.
“Given the investment required to put together a major facility like this, which I assume Cine Magic wouldn’t do without some sort of long-term lease, I’m betting that Hylan has no imminent plans to build residential here,” Dennis said.
Mavrigiannakis believes the new center will draw larger clients, possibly music video, film, and television production companies, but he did not rule out the possibility that housing would one day be developed on the underutilized parts of the site.
“Why have talent staying in Manhattan, if you could provide the housing there?” said Mavrigiannakis. “It’s so scenic.”