Netflix will pay $55 million for a big parcel of land in New Jersey, then invest $850 million to build a state-of-the-art production studio, according to details of the streamer’s bid.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority is expected to approve the project at a meeting this evening.
The 289-acre site of Netflix Studios Fort Monmouth, a former army base, would be one of the largest fully integrated production facilities in the world and a very close second to Netflix’s biggest U.S. production hub in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which totals 300 acres.
NJ Governor Phil Murphy has a veto period, but the pol has been pushing very hard to bring production to the Garden State with tax credits and other incentives.
Some three to six months of due diligence by county and state authorities would follow before work on the site could begin on the new studio, with 12 sound stages, back lots and production support.
The project comes at a time of pressure on big entertainment companies to rein in content spending. But studio space remains a hot commodity with demand for modern stages outpacing supply, especially in the New York metro and tristate area.
Netflix opened a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn last year. It leased stages in Atlanta, Toronto, Vancouver and across California and internationally in London, Tokyo, Seoul, and Madrid. “We don’t anticipate a reduction in filming around the world,” Netflix Director of Content & Studio Affairs Rajiv Dalal tells Deadline. “Given our content slate, we still have enough titles to be shooting in all of these locations.”
The attraction of Fort Monmouth was a combination of size and location. The streamer cited New Jersey’s top-notch crews and talent and said it’s had good experiences filming in the state on shows including Army of the Dead. The area is versatile with proximity to major metropolitan areas as well as beaches, farmland and scenic backdrops.
Lionsgate will be the anchor tenant of a new $125 million, 12-acre film and TV production studio in Newark by Great Point Studios and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, announced earlier this year. Construction of a large production facility in Bayonne – 1888 Studios — is set to start in the first quarter of 2023. A second film studio in Kearney opened this year. “We are hoping that a critical mass has built up,” said Dalal.
(Separately Wednesday, Lionsgate was awarded New Jersey’s first “Studio Partner” designation making it eligible to capture additional above-the-line wage and salary costs as qualified expenses under the state’s industry tax credits. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority said the state can designate up to three new Studio Partners.)
As with most such projects locally approved, jobs and workforce development play a key role. Netflix estimates the studio will create 3,500 jobs during peak construction and, conservatively, between 1,400 and 2,200 jobs when it’s fully operational. The streamer estimates between $7.4 billion and $8.9 billion in output over the next 20 years for production and construction. It puts the value added to New Jersey’s economy as a direct result of construction and production activity over that period at $3.8 billion to $4.6 billion. Training programs for workforce development are part of the bid.
“We look forward to working with FMERA and the governor’s office to make all of this a reality,” said the streamer.
A handful of other groups, mostly real estate developers, also had bids under consideration.