Bringing Hollywood to New Jersey: Lionsgate, Great Point Studios to open production facility in Newark

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation increasing state's digital media content production tax credit to 35%

Lions Gate Entertainment is partnering with Hallmark Channel founder Robert Halmi's Great Point Studios and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to build a new production facility in Newark, New Jersey.

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LGF.B LIONS GATE ENTERTAINMENT CORP. 8.88 -0.31 -3.37%

The 12-acre, $125 million facility will be owned and operated through a joint venture between Great Point Studios and private investment firm Lindsay Goldberg. It will be located in Newark's South Ward at the site of the former Seth Boyden Housing site, which is near Newark Liberty International Airport, the Port of Newark, NJ Transit, the PATH system and several major highways. 

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Lionsgate will be the facility's long-term anchor tenant and will receive naming rights to the studio, while NJPAC will manage public affairs and community relations for the studio and create educational programs and internships for Newark high school and college students. 

"This is a great opportunity to scale our East Coast studio footprint with our partners at Great Point Studios and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to support our robust film & television production," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.  

Matrix Development will serve as the project developer and global architecture, design and planning firm Gensler has signed on as the facility's architect and master planner. 

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The 300,000-square-foot, full-service, modern entertainment complex will include production stages ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, offices, support space and parking for 400 cars and 65 trucks. The facility will offer a full set of production services on site, including grip and electric, equipment, props, set building, restaurants, location catering, cleaning service and security. 

The facility is expected to begin operations in late 2024, create more than 600 new long-term jobs for Newark residents and generate more than $800 million in annual economic impact for Newark and New Jersey. 

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In April 2021, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy penned a letter to Hollywood film studios, including Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros., in an attempt to woo them to the Garden State following the passage of Georgia's controversial voting law. 

In January, Murphy signed legislation increasing the state's digital media content production tax credit to 35% of qualified expenses purchased through vendors in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, or Salem counties, or 30% of all other qualified expenses purchased within the state. 

In addition, the bill increases the cumulative annual limitation on digital media content production tax credits from $10 million to $30 million. Beginning in fiscal year 2025, the bill also allows an additional $100 million in tax credits for New Jersey film-lease partners from tax credits authorized under other incentive programs.

"One of my administration's priorities has been to enhance New Jersey's film industry and create new revenue streams for our State," Murphy said in a statement. "With the addition of the Lionsgate Newark Studio, New Jersey will cement its position as a hub for television and film production with its proximity to all forms of transportation and access to more than 14,000 qualified union members in the region."

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The announcement of Lionsgate Newark comes after Netflix announced plans in October to submit a bid on a 289-acre portion of Fort Monmouth, a former Army base in New Jersey, to develop a new state-of-the-art production facility.