Lionsgate will be the anchor tenant of a new $125 million, 12-acre film and TV production facility in Newark, the movie house announced May 17 in partnership with studio investment-management business Great Point Studios and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
The facility, to be owned and operated by Great Point Studios, will be located in Newark’s South Ward at the former Seth Boyden Housing site, where demolition began in February. The Seth Boyden Housing projects opened originally in 1941 and were abandoned a few years ago. Lionsgate will have naming rights to the studio and NJPAC will manage public affairs and community relations, as well as create educational programs and internships for Newark high school and college students.
Operations are expected to begin in late 2024.
“One of my administration’s priorities has been to enhance New Jersey’s film industry and create new revenue streams for our State,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “With the addition of the Lionsgate Newark Studio, New Jersey will cement its position as a hub for television and film production with its proximity to all forms of transportation and access to more than 14,000 qualified union members in the region. As a result, 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.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called this “a monumental victory” for his city.
The 300,000-square-foot, full-service, modern entertainment complex will include production stages ranging from 20,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, offices, support space and parking for 400 cars and 65 trucks.
Lionsgate Newark will create more than 600 new long-term jobs and, according to the city, will generate more than $800 million of annual economic impact for Newark and New Jersey.
“We have a shared vision for the future of the entertainment industry, and it’s reflected in every detail we put into this complex,” said Founder and CEO of Great Point Studios Robert Halmi, who created the Hallmark Channel and has produced more than 400 film and television projects during his career. “Given the rise in studio production post-COVID, we are confident that expanding our studio program into New Jersey will be a welcome addition.”
NJPAC originated the idea for the project with the City of Newark and the Newark Housing Authority. Chief Executive Officer John Schreiber said he’s grateful to Baraka and the NHA “for embracing our project to bring a world class film studio back to the city where celluloid movie film was invented and to Gov. Murphy for creating tax incentives to make New Jersey more attractive to the film industry and especially for the development of studios, like Lionsgate Newark.”
The facility will be owned by a joint venture between Great Point Studios and its institutional financial partner Lindsay Goldberg, a private investment firm that partners with entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses. Matrix Development will serve as the project developer and global architecture firm Gensler has signed on to lead the way with architecture and master planning.