Home Production studio Major production studio complex leads to redevelopment of Downsview

Major production studio complex leads to redevelopment of Downsview

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A large and new production studio complex is planned at Downsview with the promise of thousands of new jobs to replace those lost when aircraft maker Bombardier takes off.

An agreement was announced this week on the terms of a long-term lease of land to Hackman Capital Partners, a California-based entertainment production real estate company with billions of dollars in holdings, including major studio sites. Americans.

Hackman said in a press release that “subject to the approval of city officials, our long-term plan envisions over a million square feet of production and support space, with soundstages ranging from 20,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet “.

This will make it one of the largest studio complexes in a city teeming with film, television and digital shoots to the point that some productions will have to be refused for lack of filming space.

Unlike many studio complexes, it won’t be near the city center.

Like them, however, he will be on the metro line.

The deal is the first announced by a federal pension fund since it bought much of the sprawling site that Bombardier is leaving and reached a deal with the City of Toronto to unlock 520 acres for massive urban transformation in the region. .

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board and its Downsview-focused subsidiary Northcrest Developments said that “the plan will not only create thousands of jobs in film and television, but will open the door to a new center. of media, technology and innovation at Downsview that we can build. on and grow for years to come.

Com. James Pasternak, who represents the area and supported the city’s compromise with landowners that will allow new residential neighborhoods on what has been designated “employment grounds,” applauded the studio’s announcement.

“The site already has Downsview Park tube station and Sheppard West station, and over time the lands will see approximately 100 acres in new parks, as well as residential and commercial developments,” Pasternak said in an interview. Friday.

“People who work in the studios will be able to live within walking distance. It will not be a barricaded and isolated business that people cannot access; he will be part of the community.

Pasternak said the studios will be built in two phases, with the first half a million square feet built on land currently vacant, from 2022 to 2024, with productions starting in 2024 and potentially employing around 1,200 people.

Another area of ​​approximately 600,000 square feet will be set aside for land vacated by Bombardier when it finishes moving its production plant closer to Pearson Airport. This studio phase will have approximately 1,350 “full-time jobs in progress,” Pasternak said.

“Hopefully by 2026 the million square feet will be up and running, producing television and film productions and employing around 2,500 people,” said Ward Councilor 6 York Center.

Victoria Harding, executive director of the Ontario wing of the Directors Guild of Canada, said the new space was desperately needed.

“The more professional-quality studios there are, the more business there is. We’ve seen it in Vancouver and other centers, ”she said in an interview.

“As someone who worked in the old shitty lead-filled warehouses of the ’90s, I’m so grateful that the people I work with at the Directors Guild have purpose-built studios that aren’t (old) contaminated manufacturing plants.

City of Toronto Film Commissioner Marguerite Pigott said: “The vision of PSP Investments, Hackman Capital and (a subsidiary of Hackman) The MBS Group is aligned with that of Toronto with an emphasis on innovation, sustainability and inclusive talent development, so we’re thrilled they are moving to Vue Down.

Cynthia Lynch, chief executive of FilmOntario, a consortium representing 35,000 people in the province’s film industries, said the suburban complex follows other studios announced for Mississauga and Pickering-Durham.

“This is great news, but it is also important that we do proportional workforce development, so we have formed teams to support the new activity of the studio,” she said.

“It’s a bit of a chicken and an egg; we need infrastructure to attract people into the industry. So far we have been able to keep up.

Representatives for Hackland could not be reached for comment on Friday.

David Rider is the Star’s Town Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering town hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider



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