Nov. 15, 2023 By Bill Parry
Mayor Eric Adams joined city officials, labor leaders and partners from the film and TV industry to break ground on the construction of yet another new film and TV-ready production studio in western Queens on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The $275 million East End Studios Sunnyside Campus construction project will create nearly 1,000 construction jobs and roughly 750 permanent, full-time jobs where a long-shuttered warehouse stood for years alongside the northwest edge of Calvary Cemetery at 48-37 48th St., which is actually in Woodside, along the border of Sunnyside.
The start of construction signals the return of the city’s film and production industry, after the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writer’s Guild for America (WGA) ended their respective strikes this fall.
“Thanks to SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America securing fair deals for their workers, film and TV production is back in New York City — helping more than 185,000 New Yorkers get back to work,” Adams said. “New York City is back, but our work is not done until every New Yorker has a pathway to success. We’re thrilled to see East End Studios bringing more than 1,500 jobs to the city and joining the ecosystem of successful local production spaces that are continuing to elevate western Queens as a worthy rival of Hollywood.”
The East End Studios will join the Robert DeNiro-backed Wildflower Studios in Astoria and the Borden Studios Complex nearing completion in Long Island City as the new facilities in western Queens, joining Kaufman Astoria Studios, and Silvercup Studios in Long Island City.
“Today’s groundbreaking at the new East End Studios Sunnyside Campus is not only an indication of this city’s commitment to the future of our world-famous film and TV industry, but also a moment to celebrate the historic resolution of the 118-day SAG-AFTRA strike,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Pat Kaufman. “Combined with the recent expansion of the New York state film tax credit, today’s groundbreaking will serve as an economic driver for local businesses, create jobs for New Yorkers and further our city’s reputation as a global creative capital.”
NYC Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball noted how quickly the project came together.
“NYCEDC celebrates the East End Studios Sunnyside Campus groundbreaking and is thrilled with the progress made on this new state-of-the-art film- and TV-ready production studio that was just announced over the summer,” Kimball said. “With the development of the new East End Studios facility here in Queens, and the recent groundbreaking of Sunset Pier 94 Studios — the first purpose-built studio campus in Manhattan — last month, film and TV production continues to be a huge driver of New York City’s economy, providing good-paying jobs for New Yorkers across the five boroughs.”
The East End Studios Sunnyside Campus will be a 340,000-square-foot, Class A facility with three full-service, ground-floor sound stages totaling 75,000 square feet. The project also houses a 15,000-square-foot rooftop flex-stage that offers sweeping views of the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines. The stages are supported by 125,000 square feet of production, office and mill spaces.
Like all of East End Studios’ projects, the new facility will be fully integrated with extended reality and virtual reality infrastructure, including the capability to shoot on a virtual stage and high-speed fiber connectivity with scalable production-level internet.
“New York City has profound unmet demand for best-in-class, fully integrated stage campuses. Our Sunnyside Campus will provide an elevated standard of workflow that doesn’t exist in any New York City stage at this time,” said Jonathon Yormak, founding partner, East End Studios. “East End Studios is exceptionally proud to participate in the city’s ever-growing place in the production landscape.”
New York City’s film and TV industry has grown significantly over the last decade, supporting 185,000 jobs, generating over $18 billion in wages, and contributing more than $82 billion in economic impact. After struggling during the pandemic, the city’s arts and entertainment sector continues to show positive momentum in its jobs recovery under the Adams administration — growing nearly 16% between May 2022 and May 2023 — and recovering nearly 46,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, according to city officials.
The groundbreaking in Woodside also marks a key stop on Mayor Adams’ “Working People’s Tour,” continuing to create jobs and power New York City’s economic recovery after the city set an all-time high job record with 4.7 million total jobs, recovering the nearly 1 million jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we continue our Working People’s Tour in celebration of hitting a new all-time job record in New York City, we are thrilled our unions and studios have reached agreements and we welcome the return of film and TV production — a vital component of New York City’s Economy,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “The East End Studios Sunnyside Campus will build on New York City’s strong foundation of local production facilities that keeps world-leading productions and family-sustaining jobs in New York City.”