Brooklyn Soundstage Company Acquires SI Prison for $7M
New York state has closed on a $7 million acquisition with the Greenpoint-based soundstage company Broadway Stages for a 69-acre former prison facility in Staten Island. The new facility is expected to draw in lots of television and movie productions that are looking to film authentic jail scenes.
Broadway Stages agreed to invest $20 million for maintenance work, renovations and the future construction of six soundstages in the old Arthur Kill Correctional Facility as part of the acquisition. The facility sits on the water’s edge in Staten Island’s neighborhood of Rossville.
The recent popularity of prison-themed shows, like Orange is the New Black, are increasing productions’ needs for jail locations, Broadway Stages president and CEO Gina Argento told Crain’s. She explained that her company can gain an edge over its city competitors by having a prison facility in its portfolio.
Argento said, "A lot of productions have had to go Upstate to film prison scenes. To have a prison in the city that has such a feeling of authenticity to it is going to be very attractive to a lot of productions that are otherwise based in the city."
According to Crain’s, “Broadway Stages won a state solicitation for buyers of the site over three years ago, but was delayed in part in closing on the deal by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. DiNapoli's office had directed scrutiny at Argento after her name arose in an investigation by federal and state prosecutors into Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign fundraising. Through a lawyer, Argento had said she felt pressured to donate to de Blasio. The soundstage firm has been using the site for some productions in recent years as it awaited closing on the purchase agreement, Argento said. NBC's Blindspot and The Blacklist as well as the blockbuster, all-female Ocean's 8 have shot there. As part of the deal, Broadway Stages must invest $20 million in the property, which houses 45 different buildings in addition to the jail, over the next five years.”
Argento said, "The first thing we're going to do is maintenance and repair work to restore plumbing and water and electricity to the buildings. The first step is to bring everything back to code."
While the facility is being used for productions, the other buildings on the site will probably function as office space, Argento told Crain’s.
A jail containing 400 cells is the properties core piece. Up until 2011 it was used to house male inmates.
"It really has that scary factor. It's not the kind of place you'd want to get locked in overnight,” Argento said.
Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Staten Island will be given new life as a stage for productions. (Photo Credit: Empire State Development)