Pinewood's Toronto project a go


TORONTO -- Toronto real estate developer Alfredo Romano has confirmed that he is partnering with Britain's Pinewood Studios Group to build new studio space for big-budget film shoots in midtown Toronto (HR 4/16).

Romano, a principal with Toronto-based Castlepoint Development, said Wednesday that five sound stages in all will be built, with the first two to open by fall 2008.

In addition to luring Hollywood shoots, the project aims at giving London-based Pinewood a foothold in the North American market. "Toronto has a strong infrastructure, and its culture is conducive to Pinewood Shepperton," Romano said.

He added that Castlepoint and Pinewood have established a joint venture, CastlePoint Studio Partners Ltd., to build the new studio complex at a cost of about $35 million on a 2.3-hectare site that was recently purchased for commercial development.

Both Pinewood, whose owners include directing brothers Ridley and Tony Scott, and Castlepoint Development in 2004 narrowly lost out to rival Toronto real estate developer Rose Corp. in a bid to build a megastudio on the city's waterfront for high-end, effects-heavy movie shoots.

Toronto Film Studios, the Rose Corp.'s studio division, is now constructing FilmPort, which comprises seven sound stages over an initial 260,000 square feet of studio space. They plan to open for business in early 2008.

Romano said the proposed Toronto studio will have two large sound stages in the 28,000-32,000 square-foot range, with the remaining three sound stages being smaller.