BY SOMTO AGWAI AND KATARINA HYBENOVA
The famous Queens Kaufman Astoria Studios is growing at a fast pace.
The original home to Paramount Pictures, built in the 1920s, announced that they will built two new sound stages on their campus, bringing the total number of their stages to 12. Additionally, the studio announced Thursday that they have purchased Steinway Street Theaters, known locally as UA Kaufman Astoria Cinemas.
The 84,000-square-foot movie theater was purchased from Cleveland-based Forest City Realty Trust Inc. and its joint venture partner Madison International Realty LLC for $45 million.
Interestingly, the movie theater, which opened in 1999, was originally developed by Forest City on land it acquired from Kaufman Astoria Studios. Now the property has come full circle, and Kaufman Astoria Studios owns it again.
QNS has reached out to Kaufman Astoria Studios for a comment regarding their future plans with the movie theater and will update this article once it is received.
Crain’s New York first reported that Kaufman Astoria’s two new stages will be located at the corner of 34th Avenue and 36th Street in Astoria. The grounds, which were purchased in 1980, are currently used as parking space for trucks, but will soon contain a building four stories high. The new stages, O and N, will be accommodated in a single building in order to accommodate one or two separate productions.
Stage O will be 15,381 square feet and Stage N will be 8,673 square feet. The four-story building will cover approximately 26,000 square feet of auxiliary production space and 45,000 square feet of office space on the upper floors, with a parking garage underground.
With expectations of breaking ground in the fall of 2016, Kaufman Astoria Studios has implemented an anticipated construction plan of 18 to 24 months.
Hal Rosenbluth, president and CEO of Kaufman Astoria Studios stated, “With the tremendous growth of the entertainment industry here, our stages are constantly occupied, and we’re thrilled that with the new stages we will be able to expand the number of productions that call New York home.”
Many films have been shot at the historic studio, with “How to Be Single” and “Money Monster” being among the most recent. Annually, there are approximately seven television shows filmed at Kaufman Astoria. Summer hits such as “The Affair” and “Orange is the New Black” will be returning to Kaufman Stages.
Earlier this year, Kaufman Astoria Studio organized a wildly popular street party where the public had a chance to meet film crews and take a sneak peek at how movies are being made. Furthermore, in July the night market Astoria Flea & Food reopens at the studios.