Nassau IDA to support Port North film studio project

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The 101 Winners Circle property in Port Washington North may be turned into a film and TV production studio. (Photo courtesy of Little Rock Construction, Inc.)

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency has approved support for the $15 million investment by 101 Channel LLC, to renovate a 100,000 square-foot facility into a state-of-the-art film studio at a former Publishers Clearing House building located at 101 Channel Drive in the Village of Port Washington North.

The property, owned by developer Parviz Farahzad, who spearheaded the Grumman Studios project in Bethpage, will turn the vacant property into six film production studios.

The IDA said it is expected to create 400 new jobs once in use and estimates that the 15-year pilot for the Port Washington based project, as well as a planned 9-year extension for the Grumman Studios facility, is expected to generate more than $759 million of economic impact over the course of the two pilots.

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

Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel said in a statement that the project would help the county “become an even more attractive place for filmmakers.”

“Film production generates tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and economic growth given the sheer volume of people involved and the patronage of local businesses during production,” Kessel said. “We are proud to support the expansion in Nassau County as well as the benefits it will bring to Nassau County taxpayers.”

Harry Coghlan, executive director of the IDA, echoed Kessel’s sentiments.

“Job creation, economic output, attracting other people and businesses to the area is why it is so important to ensure businesses like Lunar Module Park stay right here in Nassau County,” Coghlan said. “Their contribution to our economy is far greater than the savings they receive in the way of stabilized real property pilot payments.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement that she was “delighted” at the prospect.

“I am delighted that the IDA is able to assist in bringing a third fully approved NYS sound studio to Nassau County, just as the film and television industry is making its comeback – with major players like HBO, Apple TV, Netflix, and NBC all with projects in the works,” Curran said. “At its height, the industry generated upwards of $170 million in economic activity on Long Island annually. A new studio in Port Washington, coupled with our myriad locations and proximity to New York City, furthers Nassau’s position as the place to film.”

Property owner Farazhad said that the IDA had supported his company’s endeavors for many years and that the projects “have been beneficial both for us and Nassau County residents.”

“In working together, we have been able to create hundreds of jobs and spur a significant amount of economic activity in the region,” Farazhad said. “We look forward to continuing this relationship that delivers for all parties involved.”

The Village of Port Washington North recently closed public hearings on whether or not to include movie studios as an accepted use in their village code.

Residents of the Mill Pond Acres condominiums, which border the proposed site, have complained about the proposed structure, voicing concerns about noise, eye lines, and height.

At a January meeting, Mayor Robert Weitzer said that the board was “open to being creative.”

“Don’t forget, we lost Thompson Industries and we lost Publishers Clearing House,” he said. “We are open as a board to being creative, because if you’re not creative, these locations will die, and we are trying to do our best with exploring these options and other opportunities.”

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