$1B New Jersey Studio Project Moves Forward

The 1.5 million-square-foot campus is slated to come online in 2026.

  • 1888 Studios
  • 1888 Studios
  • 1888 Studios
  • 1888 Studios Rendering

Togus Urban Renewal LLC has secured a Film-Lease Partner Facility designation from The New Jersey Economic Development Authority for its 1888 Studios project in Bayonne, N.J. This will allow future tenants to benefit from increased tax credits for projects filmed under the Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program, with the condition that the developer commits to occupying the facility for at least five years.

Designed by Gensler, the project represents the first campus-style film and studio facility in the Northeast. It is slated to span 1.5 million square feet, occupying 58 acres of land and 20 acres in Newark Bay. Completion for the $1 billion project is expected in 2026.

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Plans call for 23 smart sound stages that range from 18,000 to 60,000 square feet. Other features include 40- to 50-foot ceilings, 350,000 square feet of production support space, office spaces, mills, lighting and grip facilities, as well as outdoor backlot space and storage.

Public financing for the development includes a $65 million bond, approved in March 2023. Bayonne City Council also passed a 30-year PILOT agreement, under which the developer’s payments will start at roughly $2.6 million annually, and gradually increase to $7.5 million, as reported by NJ.com. The studio is slated to create some 2,100 full-time permanent jobs, according to the same source.

Film-Lease Partner benefits

Governor Murphy reinstated the Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program in 2018, which is funded through 2039. It was expanded in 2021 with $400 million in annual allocations and by allowing NJEDA to designate Film-Lease Partner facilities. The program provides tax credits of as much as 40 percent for labor expenditures and up to 35 percent for production expanses, as well as potential diversity credit of up to 4 percent.

Tenants can receive increased tax credit awards if they qualify as film-lease production companies. In order to receive the designation, the production firms need to film at least half of the total shoot days at the facility.

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