Toronto to build $ 250 million studio complex, marking biggest production investment in two decades

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Hackman Capital Partners (HCP) and its subsidiary the MBS Group have won an application to build a new $ 250 million studio complex in Toronto, a project that marks the largest investment in the production industry for more than two decades, the city said on Wednesday. .

The Basin Media Hub, named after its location on Basin Street, will span 8.9 acres in the waterfront Port Lands of the provincial capital. It will provide up to 500,000 square feet of film, television and digital media studio space and production offices, including eight specially designed sound stages as well as workshop and production support spaces. HCP-MBS will also work with the city to create a public promenade along the waterfront to further invigorate the surroundings.

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“With production value [in Toronto] on track to achieve a record in 2022, exceeding [the 2019 record high of] With $ 2.2 billion, the industry needs this future cutting-edge media hub to meet Toronto’s growing demand for space and talent, ”said City Councilor Paula Fletcher, Chair of the Film Advisory Board, television and digital media.

She stressed that the new center is not just an addition of new buildings, but will come with work experience and training opportunities “for a wide range of careers in the media production industry, with particular emphasis. on people in groups deserving of equity “.

HCP-MBS has also committed an initial investment of $ 1 million to establish a Basin Media Hub endowment for a local training program, as well as funds for a program coordinator. Its MBS University division, which has experience in creating personalized programs for practical crew training, will also provide on-site training space and work experience opportunities for students from local schools.

The HCP-MBS proposal was approved by CreateTO, the Toronto real estate agency, last month and city council last week, before the city’s mayor, John Tory, announced the partnership’s finalization on Tuesday.

Tory noted that the hub will help Toronto increase its production capacity, create new jobs and skills training opportunities, and attract and retain production investment from around the world.

“This is a major investment in the future of Toronto’s screen industry and I can’t wait to see this $ 250 million project take off – it will help keep our city coming back. stronger than ever, ”he said.

Steven Trumper, CEO of CreateTo, explained that they had gone through a multi-step bidding process to select the HCP-MBS proposal, which he called a “great opportunity for the city” and “an exciting addition. east of Toronto “.

A period of rapid growth

Home to more than 2.9 million people, Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America. The metropolis has long been an established destination for film production, with famous series such as “Star Trek Discovery”, “See”, “Locke & Key”, “Schitt’s Creek”, “What We Do in the Shadows”, ” The Queen’s Gambit ”,“ Jack Reacher ”and the upcoming feature films“ Nightmare Alley ”and“ Women Talking ”all made in the city.

Netflix announced this year the opening of a Canadian headquarters in the city and hopes to further exploit Canadian content and creators.

The launch of the Basin Media Hub comes at a time when Toronto’s screen industry is experiencing record expansion, the city said. Studio space in the Toronto area is currently expected to increase 63% to 5.3 million square feet by 2025 due to expansions and new construction.

To support this growth, the city’s film office will hire additional film license coordinators and industry development staff to expand services as production volumes increase. New film license fees will also be introduced next year to help pay for these roles and other initiatives.

Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee, explained that the film industry plays a vital role in the strength and diversity of Toronto’s economy.

“International demand for our studios and talent continues to grow, and yesterday’s announcement advances our plans to increase studio capacity in the city, develop our workforce and further green the industry,” Thompson said.

HCP CEO Michael Hackman called it a “privilege” to have been selected as the hub’s developer and operator.

“We are very excited to launch this project, to help the city expand its studio footprint and to support anyone interested in working in the screen industry,” he said.

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