Great Point Studios Officially Opens
Lionsgate Studios Yonkers
Last month, Great Point Studios officially opened the doors to its long-awaited Lionsgate Studios Yonkers, the largest modern-built film and television production facility in the Northeast.
In an unprecedented move that dramatically changes the landscape of the New York film and television industry, Great Point Studios is also revealed its $500 million-plus expansion plans and new long-term tenants for the facility, which include Lionsgate, Mediapro and Syracuse University.
The announcement was made by Great Point Studios Founder and CEO, Robert Halmi.
Owned and operated by Great Point Studios, Lionsgate Studios was created to satisfy the overwhelming demand for large studio space in the New York City area. This campus — approximately 11 miles from midtown Manhattan —will feature state-of-the-art film stages, post-production facilities, screening rooms, office space and support space. It will offer a full set of production services on site, including grip and electric, equipment, props, set building, restaurants, location catering, cleaning service, and security. The now-expanding, one million-square-foot complex will cost over $500 million and boast more 20,000 square foot stages on one campus than any other facility in the Northeast. The campus will include a total of eleven (11) soundstages: eight 20,000-square-foot stages, two 10,000-square-foot stages, and a gigantic, 30,000 square-foot stage. It will also include parking for more than 750 cars and 100 trucks.
Three of the large stages and 500,000 square feet of office and support space are now open for business, while Great Point has also purchased approximately eight acres of additional land around the originally announced studio site. The expansion of additional stages and office space are already under construction and are scheduled to be completed in phases starting in September 2022 with total completion slated for December 2023.
Global content leader Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), has expanded its role as anchor tenant, and will occupy seven (7) of the complex’s eleven (11) stages, along with office and support space. Besides its prominent theatrical film presence, Lionsgate is producing over 40 television shows for various broadcast outlets, including its own Starz platform.
“With demand for new content greater than ever and prime studio space at a premium, we’re pleased to partner with Great Point on the opportunity to become an anchor tenant of the Yonkers Studios,” says Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “They will give our television and film productions state-of-the-art East Coast sound stages with great proximity to New York City, and we look forward to them becoming an important hub for our global production activities.”
“Mediapro recently expanded its operations in the US with two new production centers in great locations, and our aim through this partnership is to continue our growth in the country and globally,” stated Mediapro US CEO Irantzu Diez Gamboa. “We are very pleased with the partnership with Great Point Studios and are very excited to form part of the largest film and television production complex in the Northeast. We believe that with the increase in new content productions this space provides an opportunity for our in-house content creation, production and distribution factory, The Mediapro Studio, to grow, and also to increase our portfolio of studios to provide broadcast and media services to third parties.”
In a unique partnership between the academic and production worlds, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University has also come on as a key partner at Lionsgate Studios. Syracuse University will work with Great Point Studios to create a distinctive learning and fully hands-on working experience for television, radio and film students. Beginning this month, the school will utilize the facility as a giant classroom and will have access to all stages and equipment at Lionsgate Studio Yonkers. The Newhouse NYC program is a specialized program for Newhouse students from all majors, placing them in NYC for a semester where they intern and take classes. This alliance will allow television, radio and film students enrolled in the Newhouse NYC program to become fully immersed in a production experience through coursework and hands-on internships. Undergraduate juniors and seniors will be part of the inaugural program.
“At the Newhouse School, we are always looking for ways to ensure that our students have access to front-line industry experiences,” says S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University dean Mark J. Lodato. “The immersive film environment at Lionsgate Studios Yonkers is visionary, and will propel our film experience, particularly on the East Coast. Thanks to our alumnus Robert Halmi and Great Point Studios, we are thrilled to be able to offer our film students the opportunity to learn and work at what will be one of the most cutting-edge media enterprises in the country.”
Great Point Studios founder Robert Halmi called upon decades of experience as founder of the Hallmark Channel and a producer of more than 400 film & television projects to create a facility that fits the needs of these cutting-edge companies. “We have a shared vision for the future of the entertainment industry, and it’s reflected in every detail we put into this complex,” Halmi says. “Given the expected rise in studio production post-Covid, we are confident that expanding our Yonkers studio will attract quality tenants. We are proud that Lionsgate, Mediapro and Syracuse University share our vision and are strongly supporting our project.”
A key investment partner and project developer at Lionsgate Studios Yonkers is National Resources. The company has operated in the New York area for 30 years and has tallied up more than $1.5 billion in construction and redevelopment projects. National Resources will be responsible for all phases of development and construction of the studio complex. “We are very proud to work with Great Point Studios and Lionsgate to help change the production industry landscape,” says National Resources CEO, Joe Cotter. “Our combined efforts will help make the newly revitalized Yonkers a sought-after destination for talent from around the world.”
Great Point Studio’s institutional financial partner is an affiliate of Lindsay Goldberg, a private investment firm focused on partnering with entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses to help them grow. David Goldberg, Vice President of Lindsay Goldberg, said: “Robi and Fehmi’s deep industry expertise and entrepreneurial spirit make them the ideal leaders to build Great Point into a premier global studio platform. We are delighted to partner with Great Point on building this business and look forward to helping it thrive over the long-term.”
Lionsgate Studios Yonkers is located on the Hudson River in downtown Yonkers, situated just a few steps away from the newly created Saw Mill River Plaza and Yonkers’ new Metro North Railroad station. The dynamic growth and revitalization of the city will underpin the value of the new facility and make it the premier tri-state venue for anyone needing production facilities.
Throughout this entire project, Great Point has received an abundance of support from the City of Yonkers and has worked closely alongside Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “This state-of-the-art media complex will help complete the transformation of the Yonkers waterfront. Local commerce will benefit from the expected 1000+ people working at the studio complex daily,” said Mayor Spano. “We look forward to welcoming Great Point Studios, Lionsgate and all of the new companies to Yonkers in the new year.”
ABOUT GREAT POINT STUDIOS
Great Point Studios is a media-focused investment fund specializing in film and television infrastructure. It was founded by Robert Halmi and Fehmi Zeko. They are presently expanding into new studio investment/management businesses in other locations in North America and the U.K.
Robert Halmi is the founder of the Hallmark Channel and was Chairman of Crown Media. Robert has been the Chief Executive Officer of four public companies. As President and CEO of Hallmark Entertainment, Robert transformed the business from a small production company into one of the first modern studios, with production, distribution and broadcast all in one company. Under Halmi’s leadership, Hallmark Entertainment produced over 2,000 hours of original content. Halmi is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and serves on the board of the International Emmy Committee.
Fehmi Zeko has established a record of helping global technology, media and telecommunications clients build strong companies and deliver profitable growth through landmark M&A, turnaround and growth initiatives. Fehmi has led the banking strategies in global communications, media, entertainment and telecom at Bank of America, Macquarie Capital and Citigroup. Fehmi has had consistent success providing operating advice and capital to drive the completion of hundreds of transactions and raising hundreds of billions in equity and debt capital. He has built, led and/or expanded market sector practices in leading institutions through long-standing corporate relationships with clients such as Viacom, Lionsgate, Newscorp, Fox, Time-Warner, Comcast NBCUniversal, Cablevision, Disney, CBS, Yahoo, Facebook, Sony, Warner Music, Thomson Reuters, Bertelsmann, Vivendi, Sprint, American Tower, Apollo, Bain, TPG, KKR, TH Lee and Blackstone, among others.
The first major new studio in decades, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) is a global content leader whose films, television series, digital products and linear and over-the-top platforms reach next generation audiences around the world. In addition to its filmed entertainment leadership, Lionsgate content drives a growing presence in interactive and location-based entertainment, video games, esports and other new entertainment technologies. Lionsgate’s content initiatives are backed by a nearly 17,000-title film and television library and delivered through a global sales and distribution infrastructure. The Lionsgate brand is synonymous with original, daring and ground-breaking content created with special emphasis on the evolving patterns and diverse composition of the Company’s worldwide consumer base.
MEDIAPRO is a leading group in the global audiovisual sector, unique in content integration, production and audiovisual distribution. With operations worldwide through its 56 offices distributed across 35 countries on 4 continents, MEDIAPRO provides the creativity and technical solutions necessary to design, produce and distribute any audiovisual or multi-channel project in any corner of the globe using state-of-the-art technology.
The MEDIAPRO Group has been present in the United States for 25 years, where it has 4 production centers equipped with a total of 12 studios, 9 in Miami and 3 in New York. Its US service portfolio includes content production, post-production, management and acquisition of sports TV rights, distribution and broadcast of TV channels, and more.
THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO is the content creation, production and distribution factory of the MEDIAPRO Group, responsible for implementing high quality projects worldwide, developed in association with renowned talent of national and international prestige. The Mediapro Studio is present in 24 of the 56 Group offices, from where it produces drama series, films, entertainment programs, short-formats and documentaries. The Mediapro Studio partners with many of the industry’s key operators globally, including HBO, Netflix, Amazon, DirectTV, Fox, Viacom, Yle and Disney and its productions have achieved many international awards, including 2 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Daytime Emmy Awards and multiple Goya awards.
ABOUT NATIONAL RESOURCES
National Resources (NRE) has a wide range of experience in design and construction in the New York metro area. NRE is a specialist real estate development and investment firm that focuses on the redevelopment of corporate and industrial sites. In the past 30 years, NRE has built a solid foundation of acquisitions, leasing and redevelopment with the unique value-added dimension of sustainability.
They have redeveloped over $1.5 billion of projects with some of the world’s largest capital partners, while producing strong financial returns for investors. Their established projects include the innovative iParks and landmark Hudson River waterfront residences. Under the iPark brand, NRE has transformed some of America’s largest former industrial sites into vibrant workplaces. During the past 15 years, NRE has developed over eight million square feet of space in six states while creating more than 20,000 new jobs in formerly vacant spaces.
ABOUT LINDSAY GOLDBERG
Lindsay Goldberg is a private investment firm that focuses on partnering with families, founders and management teams seeking to actively build their businesses. Since 2001, Lindsay Goldberg has raised more than $17 billion of equity capital and has invested in over 50 platform companies and over 250 follow-on opportunities. For more information, visit www.lindsaygoldbergllc.com.