The owner of Grumman Studios in Bethpage, a filming location for movies such as "The Avengers" and "Ocean’s Eight," has been approved for tax breaks to create a new film and TV studio in Port Washington North.
Parviz Farahzad plans to spend around $20 million to transform the former Publishers Clearing House headquarters there into a 160,000-square-foot production complex designed to be a sister facility to the Bethpage operation.
"Despite COVID and despite other challenges, there’s still demand for studio space because of a drive for content in the TV and movie industry," Daniel P. Deegan, the studios’ real estate attorney, said during a virtual meeting of the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency Thursday night. Film and TV production was allowed to resume in July when Long Island entered Phase 4 of the state's reopening plan.
While the new studio itself will not create many jobs, Deegan and IDA chairman Richard Kessel said its economic value comes from the hundreds of high-paying film crew jobs on the productions it attracts.
"We’ve seen the success with Grumman Studios and Gold Coast Studios," another studio in Bethpage, Kessel said. "It’s not just the jobs at the site. It’s the jobs that are created when you have a production and you bring all of these people, most if not all of them union jobs."
"At its height, the [film and television] industry generated upwards of $170 million in economic activity on Long Island annually," County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. "A new studio in Port Washington ... furthers Nassau’s position as the place to film."
The project calls for the roof on a 100,000-square-foot building to be raised to 65 feet for six soundstages, and the conversion of a second, 60,000-square-foot building into offices and storage. Both buildings, at 101 Channel Dr., were purchased by Farahzad for $7.3 million in 2014.
Publishers Clearing House relocated its headquarters to Jericho.
Deegan said the new facility is needed to meet production demand. "The Grumman Studios property is currently pretty much taken up right now by Apple filming a series," he said. "Suffice it to say there’s a lot of activity going on."
Farahzad was approved for a 15-year reduction on property taxes for the new site; a sales tax exemption of up to $776,250 on construction materials; and a mortgage recording tax savings of $90,000.
In addition, he was granted a 9-year extension on an existing IDA deal for the Bethpage site.