Northport New York resident Joe Schramm, who serves as director of the Office of Film and Television for the Town of Huntington, is promoting a big idea: Invite Hollywood to Huntington with a 200,000-square-foot film-and-television production studio located on a 4-acre parcel of land in Huntington Station. He’s hoping to use $2 million of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant funding, awarded by New York State, toward the development of an engaging and inclusive studio, slated for the underutilized parking lot located on New York Avenue, across the street from the Huntington train station.
“Production is big business in the NY metro area and is already driving hundreds of millions in annual revenues for the local economy in Nassau County,” Schramm wrote in a letter to residents explaining why the newly established film and television office is requesting the funding. Nassau County reports that over $900 million is earned annually from film and television productions, with much of the revenue coming from two production facilities in Bethpage.
Schramm said that Kaufman Studios, located in Astoria, is an example of how a production studio can be the catalyst for a sustainable and long-term transformation of a neighborhood. “Today, Astoria is a vibrant and lively community, partially due to the impact of Kaufman Studios on the local economy,” he wrote.
One of the developers interested in building what would be called the “Studios at Huntington Station” is a co-founder of Kaufman Studios, Schramm said. The consensus among developers, he noted, is that the project will require a $100 million investment to build and outfit the space. But Schramm and the TOH film and television office want the space to be more than a warehouse-style box that’s typical of studio buildings. The goal is to create a space that will connect visually to the nearby neighborhood and interactively with the surrounding community, Schramm stated.
The DRI funds request is to incentivize the developer to “construct an attractive campus that blends with the new style of the neighborhood, as well as invite the local community to use public spaces, and attract tourists and visitors for live TV audiences,” Schramm wrote. According to his letter, the monies would be used for the following attractions:
An 11,000-square-foot public garden along New York Avenue
A rooftop “green” garden as a venue for community events
Architectural styling that coordinates and reflects the style of the surrounding and nearby buildings
Public art installations using natural materials and plants that extend the garden into the interior of the lobby
A 199-seat auditorium and screening room that is accessible for community events and meetings
Exhibition and reception space for use by community service organizations for art exhibits, meetings and special events