Port North board OKs movie studio project

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A rendering of the approved movie studio in Port Washington North. (Screencap)

Following over a year of hearings and meetings, the trustees of the Village of Port Washington North have formally approved a plan to construct a TV and film production studio.

An article of the village’s code lists offices, laboratories, food establishments, storage facilities, health clubs and similar businesses as permitted uses. The village board unanimously approved adding a “movie and film studio” to the list in September, clearing a path for 101 Channel LLC to renovate a 100,000-square-foot former Publishers Clearing House building into a state-of-the-art film studio.

Owned by developer Parviz Farahzad, who spearheaded the Grumman Studios project in Bethpage, the plans call for turning the vacant property into six film production studios modeled on the Grumman layout.

The board unanimously voted to approve the project’s site plan at a Zoom meeting on April 7, and Mayor Robert Weitzner thanked all those involved in the endeavor.

“I really do want to thank everybody who’s contributed to this process for the past two years,” Weitzner said. “I hope that the community recognizes that this was the antithesis of rushing something through. I do think in the long run, it is best for [their] business, and for our community. And we’re excited.”

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency also approved support for the $15 million investment in September, and said that it expected the project to create 400 jobs once in use. The IDA estimated that the 15-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for the Port Washington project, as well as a planned nine-year extension for the Grumman Studios facility, is expected to generate more than $759 million of economic impact.

In addition, even with the reduction of tax payments under the PILOT, the IDA staff calculated that there will be a net tax benefit to the county of nearly $38 million over the next 15 years.

“We will continue to protect our village, and protect what we believe keeps us the tranquil village that we are,” Weitzner said.

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