By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor
The region’s film production industry is getting a big boost with the construction of a new multi-stage complex on a five-acre property at the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad brownfield in McKees Rocks.
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Island Studios Exp., LLC is investing $10 million into the development of an 80,000-square-foot movie studio facility, which will include 60,000 square feet of sound stage space, one of the largest in the region, in addition to production office space, warehouse space and crew housing.
The company recently celebrated the groundbreaking of its new complex. It was joined by Gov. Tom Corbett, who announced a $2.5 million Economic Growth Initiative Grant that would support the project, and a host of other public officials and film industry representatives.
“When completed this project will help make Pittsburgh a national leader in film production and bring more jobs, more economic growth, and more attention to a city with undeniable character,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a news release.
Scheduled to be complete in about nine months, the new movie production complex is expected to create 250 jobs, which will add to the current 14,500 jobs supported by the state’s $1 billion filmmaking industry.
“An industry does not grow overnight,” Russ Streiner, producer of George Romero’s iconic 1968 zombie thriller “Night of the Living Dead” and film office board chairman, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Each element that comes into the infrastructure makes Pittsburgh more and more and more viable for the film production industry.”
The Pittsburgh Film Office reports that since 2007, producers have invested more than $500 million into Western Pennsylvania’s economy to make nearly 70 movies and television shows.
Since 2008, Island Studios Exp. has held a film production studio on McKees Rock’s Island Avenue, which it converted from a former industrial shed.
Next to CSX Corp.’s new $50 million intermodal freight center, the company’s expansion project will be the second anchor for Trinity Commercial Development’s brownfield redevelopment of the more than 52-acre former rail yard in McKees Rocks, a business park that is expected to total 600,000 square feet.
Photo credits: www.thestagepgh.com
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