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Toronto is taking offers from developers to turn a chunk of land on the city’s waterfront into a 500,000 square foot film studio as demand by Hollywood for soundstages in Canada grows.
CreateTO, the city’s real estate agency, has tapped a real estate broker, Cushman & Wakefield, to accept offers to develop the Basin Media Hub on 8.9 acres along the city’s waterfront.
Stuart Sylvester, a senior associate at Cushman & Wakefield, tells THR interest has been fielded from private equity funds, real estate investment trusts and studio operators and developers. The property will be offered to a studio developer under a long-term lease, with the winning proposal to be designed, financed, constructed and opened within three years.
Toronto is also looking for the eventual film studio to match the scale and standards of the neighboring Pinewood Toronto Studios and Cinespace Marine Terminal Studio, where Netflix has long-term leases on soundstages to produce its originals.
“This new hub will not only increase capacity in the sector and help create new employment opportunities but will further enhance the city’s ability to attract and retain production investment from around the world,” Toronto mayor John Tory said in a statement.
And as demand for local stages by Hollywood studios and streamers grows while the industry reopens amid the pandemic, the City of Toronto has begun to allow long-term film shoots inside the Enercare Centre, which has around 1 million square feet of convention space otherwise standing vacant as indoor mass gatherings are barred by local public health officials.
Sony’s action comedy Man From Toronto, starring Kevin Hart and Woody Harrelson, is among the Hollywood shoots setting up in the Enercare Centre through to the end of the year.
City officials tell The Hollywood Reporter that gathering and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic allow city-owned complexes like Enercare Centre to increase their bookings for film shoots and for longer periods of time.
As the North American production sector reopens, Hollywood producers are returning to Canada for its cheap currency, generous tax credits and studios close to downtown streets that double as Chicago, New York City and other locations.
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