New Jersey officials who have spent years trying to lure a major project to one of the largest available sites in the Garden State – the former US Army base at Fort Monmouth, which straddles Eatontown and Oceanport – breathed a sigh of relief as the deals opened on Monday confirmed that Netflix was aiming to acquire the site for a TV and film production complex.
When the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) initially put the site – known locally as the Mega Parcel – up for auction in October, it was widely assumed that the most interested buyer was Netflix, which had discussed a move from his studio to Georgia.
However, a dispute over a bowling alley included in the plot of the former army base, which closed in 2011, forced the development authority to reject the bids and restart the process.
In the meantime, Netflix revealed in an earnings call that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 – the streaming giant’s first drop in subscribers in more than a decade – and said it expects to lose up to 2 million more.
Despite these setbacks, an offer listed as Netflix Studio Fort Monmouth was among four offers received by FMERA on Monday.
Three other offers have been made for the Mega Parcel, including offers from Extell Acquisitions, a developer of luxury condos; RDR Partners, a Red Bank, NJ-based partnership that helped convert a former flag factory in Verona into apartment lofts; and a company calling itself Mega Parcel Development, according to an article in Asbury Park Press.
If Netflix’s bid, the terms of which were not disclosed, ultimately wins the bid, the project will become the second major movie studio to choose New Jersey for its production facility.
Last month, Great Point Studios, a studio management company specializing in film and television infrastructure, announced a partnership with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to build a $125 million film and television production studio in the neighborhood. south of Newark.
The facility, a 12-acre redevelopment of the former Seth Boyden public housing complex, will be called Lionsgate Studio Newark.
Great Point Studios, an investment and development group led by Hallmark Channel founder Robert Halmi and media investment banker Fehmi Zeko, opened the first phase of a production campus earlier this year. $500 million movie theater he is building in downtown Yonkers, NY, including a 500K SF studio for Lionsgate.
Demand for sound stages in the New York area is so strong that production companies, which typically lease space for three to 12 months, are signing 5- to 10-year leases with movie studios, CBRE reported the month last.
At least nine studios have launched projects with approximately 1 million square feet of new soundstage space in NY/NJ; the current inventory in the New York City subway, including northern NJ, for sound stages and filming areas is approaching SF 3 million, the CRBE said.
CRE investors and existing film production companies have recently made acquisitions to increase their share of the NJ/NJ sound stage space.
Steiner Studios, which opened in the Brooklyn Shipyard in 2004, begins construction of a 900K SF film production facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Since 2004, New York State has offered tax credits for film production projects.
Hackman Capital Partners, in partnership with Square Mile Capital Management, purchased Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens last year. In 2020, the partnership acquired Silvercup Studios, which has three film campuses in Queens and the Bronx, including the original, which was converted from the historic Silvercup Bakery in New York.