The developer of Bethpage’s Grumman Studios is proposing to convert a vacant building in Port Washington North into a film studio, touting the project would bring in high-paying jobs and create revenue for businesses in the village.
The single-story structure is one of two empty office buildings on a 13-acre commercial complex on Channel Drive that Parviz Farahzad, an East Setauket-based developer, bought from Publishers Clearing House in 2014.
Farahzad developed Grumman Studios in 2007, a 460,000-square-foot complex with eight soundstages in what was once the assembly plant for the Apollo Lunar Module.
“Since I own and operate Grumman Studios, this is an ideal location for another studio on Long Island,” Farahzad said in a phone interview Thursday, citing the size of the site, its proximity to New York City and short distance to the train station as advantages of running a successful studio.
The developer calls the proposed 100,000-square-foot facility the sister studio of Grumman and said the operation would bring economic benefits to the community.
Farahzad said he plans to demolish the ceiling, take out the columns and build the new studio within the footprint of the one-story building. The space would be divided into six separate units and leased out to production companies to make films, TV series and commercials, he said.
“For studios, you need the space,” Farahzad said, noting production crews need the space to accommodate equipment and shooting needs.
No specific plans have been made for the other vacant building.
Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner said the village board has some concerns about Farahzad's plan to build the studio with parts that could go as tall as 65 feet, surpassing the village’s 25 feet height limit.
Alex Badalamenti, president of Patchogue-based bld architecture, presented the idea on Farahzad’s behalf in front of the village board last week and said they are working on shaping the building and using landscaping to mitigate the height impact.
Weitzner said that although he’s excited about a film studio coming to Port Washington North, the village will let the process play out, including hosting community meetings.
“Putting a professional, state-of-the-art studio in our village is exciting for the entire village and the entire community,” he said. “We are not rushing, by any stretch, the process of approval.”