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Plans were unveiled Friday for a 400,000-square-foot world-class film studio complex in north Toronto for Hollywood and other international tentpole movie shoots.
The new studio, set to cost around $100 million to build and to open in late 2020, is slated to include a 70,000-square-foot “Super Stage,” touted as the largest single purpose-built stage in North America.
The First Studio City complex in Markham, Ontario, is being developed by private investors and will house in all 20 soundstages. The 70,000-square-foot mega stage, when it opens, will be bigger than the 46,500-square-foot mega stage at Pinewood Toronto Studios that currently houses the Star Trek live-action series for CBS All Access.
“This development will increase production space for local and international films that will attract Hollywood North, China and Bollywood, while continuing to support high-paying skilled jobs in the city of Markham and strengthen Ontario’s competitive position as a leading global market for film,” Frank Sicoli, co-founder of First Studio City, said in a statement.
Toronto and the wider province of Ontario are enjoying a production boom as Hollywood and other international producers bring their film, TV and digital projects for local shoots to take advantage of tax breaks and currency savings. But the $2 billion in production activity last year left Toronto’s studios filled to bursting and Hollywood film and TV productions going elsewhere, including to Montreal and Vancouver, to find available studio space.
The First Studio City studio facility proposed for Markham, expected to start construction in the spring, aims to help ease that chronic shortage of top-drawer studio space in Ontario.
“First Studio City – Markham is a game changer in the greater Toronto area and I support the vision behind it,” Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti said in his own statement.
The proposed studio complex, to be built on 14th Avenue in Markham, will be designed by architectural firm Quadrangle Architects and is to be built by the Remington Group, a major Toronto residential and commercial property developer.
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