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Kaufman Astoria Studios sold to West Coast team that acquired Silvercup last year

Kaufman Astoria Studios has been sold to the same West Coast group of investors that acquired Silvercup Studios in Long Island City last year. (Photo courtesy of KAS)

Kaufman Astoria Studios has been sold to the same consortium of Los Angeles-based investors that acquired Silvercup Studios in Long Island City last year.

Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management announced the purchase of the Kaufman Astoria Studios. Built in 1920, Kaufman Astoria Studios was the original home of Paramount Pictures and has grown into one of the largest and most sophisticated film and television production facilities on the East Coast.

The old Astoria Studios had become dilapidated and abandoned after it closed in the 1970s until the late George Kaufman acquired the property in 1982, helping to bring a renaissance to the surrounding neighborhood.

“Kaufman Astoria Studios is excited to start a new chapter in our 100+ year story,” Kaufman Astoria President and CEO Hal Rosenbluth said. “Since inception, the commitment and vision of George Kaufman has been paramount to revitalizing the greater Astoria community, ensuring the film and production industry serves as a pillar and economic driver for arts, culture and local small businesses.”

In 2014, Kaufman Astoria Studios became the anchor of the Kaufman Arts District, which spans a 24-block area and is home to seven institutions, including the Museum of the Moving Image, the Queens Council on the Arts and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but when bids came in for Kaufman Astoria Studios last March, it was believed to be around $600 million for its more than 500,000 square feet of production space, including 11 sound stages and New York City’s only studio backlot.

“We are beyond thrilled to add Kaufman Astoria to our studio portfolio and excited to further its legacy as a quintessential destination for major motion pictures and television shows,” Hackman Capital Partners Founder and CEO Michel Hackman said. “The studio has a remarkable history and has been an incredibly active and participating stakeholder in rejuvenating the entire Astoria neighborhood. We are excited to work with Hal Rosenbluth and the entire KAS team, as the studio continues to grow and excel as one of the best production facilities in the industry.”

The acquisition is not expected to impact the Innovation QNS proposal, a joint venture between Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silverstein Properties and BedRock Real Estate Partners to develop a $2 billion mixed-use five-block area centered at the intersection of Steinway Street and 35th Avenue.

Hackman Capital and Square Mile Capital acquired Silvercup Studios in Long Island City in September 2020 along with The Culver Studios and the Television City Studios in Los Angeles, as well as production studios in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The demand for production facilities has increased across the industry with the growth of streaming content in recent years.

“The acquisition of the legendary Kaufman Astoria Studios by our investment partnership is another huge step forward as we continue to build a portfolio of iconic studio properties,” Square Mile Capital CEO Craig Solomon said. “As demand for facilities and production services surges, we will continue to seek more opportunities to serve the growing content marketplace.”

In addition to owning and operating its own studio assets, Hackman Capital and its affiliate The MBS Group design, develop and build studios; manage studios for other studio owners; and provide global studios and content creators with comprehensive production services and studio-based equipment rentals.

“Working with Michael, Craig and the MBS crew to grow the studio is the perfect fit we needed,” Rosenbluth said. “Kaufman Astoria Studios looks forward to building on our great history and expanding on the landmark studios’ success. We are thrilled that Kaufman Astoria will continue to serve as an iconic studio within the growing New York and television market.”

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