Broadway Stages‘ $27 million plan to convert the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility into a state-of-the-art film and television studio has come one step closer to reality as a site plan is being developed for 69 acres of the Charleston property.
According to Borough Hall, which has weekly conference calls with Empire State Development — New York State’s economic development agency — and the Brooklyn-based Broadway Stages about the project, said the plan is unfolding, including an environmental study of the site.
“Broadway Stages’ folks have hired some design professionals and they’re doing a thorough survey of the site…Broadway Stages has been given access to the property through an agreement with the state,” said Borough President James Oddo.
“They (Broadway Stages) are doing measurements of existing buildings, and electrical and plumbing work to reactivate portions of the complex. … A lot of work is taking place to move this whole mission forward,” he added.
In addition, Empire State Development Corp. has hired the Massachusetts-based VHB consultants to conduct an environmental review of the former jail site that is expected to start next week, said Oddo.
The review will take six to 12 months to complete, according to an Empire State Development spokesman.
Construction of five sound stages on the site will start after Broadway Stages closes on the property — which could be later this year or early next year, depending on the environmental review, the spokesman added.
Broadways Stages president Gina Argento was unavailable for comment at the time this story was written.
Empire State Development said that it will create 800 jobs over the next two years, and as many as 1,500 jobs in the next five years.
The project on the South Shore may open up entry-level jobs for borough residents as production assistants in the film and television industry, leading to careers in skilled, well-paying union jobs in the pre-production, principal photography and post-production phases of the industry’s work.
“This (Broadway Stages) is part of what we are hoping becomes ‘the jobs coast’ of Staten Island — the West Shore. When you go from the top at New York Container Terminal to the Staten Island Marine Development property and all the way down to this (Broadway Stages) property and to the LNG Tanks, there are a lot of jobs that can be created along this corridor,” said Oddo.
He noted there is potential for many businesses to open up shop nearby the film studio.
“It’s not only the jobs Broadway Stages will bring itself, it’s the ancillary jobs and related industries that will grow around the complex,” said Oddo.
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by Tracy Porpora
January 30, 2015