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Netflix plans New Jersey military base for major production facility

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Netflix wants to turn a crumbling New Jersey military base into one of the Northeast’s largest film and television production centers, a plan that has at least one major promoter: Governor Phil Murphy.

On Tuesday, Netflix said it would bid for a 289-acre piece of Fort Monmouth, about 50 miles south of New York City in the boroughs of Oceanport and Eatontown. The 96-year-old base – used by the United States to develop radar technology and where a civil engineer, Julius Rosenberg, sadly began his spy career – was shut down by the Pentagon in 2011 as the military downsized expenses.

Offers for the site are expected on January 12, and Netflix is ​​reportedly not discussing the price it plans to offer. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority assessed the site at $ 54 million, but several developers have already offered over $ 100 million for just 89 acres of land considered. (Those plans failed.) Netflix said in a statement it would turn Fort Monmouth into a “state-of-the-art production facility,” indicating a mix of soundstages, post-production buildings and filming areas in background.

“Governor Murphy and the state’s legislative leaders have created a business environment that has welcomed the return of film and television production to the state, and we are delighted to submit our offer,” the Netflix statement said.

With nearly 300 acres, the Jersey Shore site is said to be Netflix’s second-largest production complex behind ABQ Studios in New Mexico. Netflix bought the resort in 2018 and pledged to spend $ 1 billion in the state, announcing plans in 2020 to expand and invest an additional $ 1 billion. ABQ Studios will have over 15 soundstages when completed.

Speculation about Netflix’s interest in Fort Monmouth has swirled since July, when The Two River Times reported that Netflix had been in contact with Mr. Murphy’s office regarding construction possibilities.

New Jersey officials began branding their state as economically and politically favorable to Netflix in 2019, when a delegation from Mr. Murphy’s administration visited various Hollywood companies in Los Angeles. In April, Mr Murphy struck a blow at Georgia, which had just passed legislation restricting voter access, prompting activists, stars and others to demand that companies like Netflix, Disney and Warner Bros. . boycott the state. In a letter to all major studios, Mr. Murphy underscored his incentives for the film and television industry – tax credits of up to 30 percent of eligible production costs, on par with Georgia, and “a brick-and-mortar studio development grant up to at 40 percent “.

“I am incredibly excited to hear about the investment offered by Netflix,” Murphy said in a statement Tuesday. “While there is an objective process that all applicants will have to go through, it is further proof that the economic plan my administration has developed is working and creating high quality, well-paying jobs in our state.”

New Jersey has a long relationship with Hollywood. Thomas Edison founded what is considered the country’s first film studio in West Orange in 1893. However, the political winds in the state have not always been favorable to the entertainment industry.

Throughout the 2010s, former Gov. Chris Christie was so disgusted with MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and its portrayal of Jersey people as heavy drinkers that he made sure the state maintained a hard line on the granting of tax credits to film and television productions. In 2009, when HBO sought production space for “Boardwalk Empire,” located in Atlantic City during the Prohibition era, the network chose to shoot the series in New York, which has long offered tax breaks. “Only the high New Jersey taxes can make building a replica of the boardwalk in Brooklyn cheaper than filming on the real boardwalk in Atlantic City,” said a New Jersey the state senator railed.

In recent years, production in the state has started to increase, in part to meet the content needs of rapidly growing streaming services. Netflix alone has filmed over 30 projects in New Jersey since 2018, including “Army of the Dead,” Zack Snyder’s zombies-in-Vegas extravagance. Upcoming, Apple TV + will be making “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” a movie starring Russell Crowe, Zac Efron and Bill Murray. The CBS drama “The Equalizer” was among other shows to record episodes in the state.

A Netflix spokesperson said the company will continue to shoot in states like New York, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, even if plans for Fort Monmouth materialize. Last month, the streaming service opened a new 170,000 square foot studio converted from a former steel plant in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. The new studio includes six sound stages and offices.

On a recent afternoon outside the Bushwick studio, there were half a dozen crew service and craft trucks, along with a number of incoming and outgoing crew. of the building. Signage around the studio indicated that two series were already in production: “The Watcher,” a limited series produced by Ryan Murphy starring Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale, and “Jigsaw,” a new drama.


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