Staten Island will now have something else to be proud of: home of the second largest film and tv production complex in the country - outside of Hollywood. Staten Island is no stranger to movie productions or being a backdrop in numerous films and shows. The Godfather house is located on Emerson Hill, Jim Carrey filmed Mr. Popper's Penguins in the Staten Island Zoo, and you might spot local landmarks in countless episodes of Law & Order.
It is confirmed that the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility will be converted to a film lot. This will be the fourth lot that the Island has seen. Fred Scott's Movie Ranch was located on Sand Land in South Beach by in the 1890s to 1914. New Brighton and Stapleton hosted Biograph Company from 1906 to 1922. Finally, Stapleton Studios operated at the old Navy Homeport site up until 2003.
Are you wondering, but why a movie lot? Although there were ideas of building a retail center or another college campus, Kenneth Adams, commissioner of the Empire State Development Corp., said he couldn’t think of better use for a defunct prison. As the state closes more prisons, taxes were cut, resulting in reduced spending and creating new economic opportunities. (x)
"Broadway Stages" Computer Generated Lot Image. Courtesy: Daily News
New York Post reported, "Greenpoint’s Broadway Stages won a bid from the state to buy the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility for $7 million and spend $20 million to build five sound stages with 100,000 square feet of studio space on the 69-acre site. State officials say the plan will generate 800 jobs over the next two years and as many as 1,500 jobs over the next five years."
There is speculation that these job opportunities won't make a positive difference on Staten Island. A Silive.com spectator, "ThisHasToStopSI," commented: If people think Staten Islanders will get jobs out of this - they have another thing coming. This project will just bring in Manhattan and Brooklyn actors, staff, and union jobs that already exist. It will be a fully enclosed facility with food services. There is not going to be a single spin off job for local businesses. This project will raise tax revenue at the site and little else. Should have been converted into a manufacturing site for good paying local jobs.
Broadway Stages are crossing their fingers that they will have their opening day this summer.