- Netflix is among several bidders for a 289-acre former army base in New Jersey, to develop it into a new production studio.
- The company quietly opened a studio in a former steel factory in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in September.
- Post-pandemic demand for new content has skyrocketed, leading multiple studios to scramble for production space across the country.
In the latest real estate move in the streaming wars, an old military base in New Jersey could find new life as a state-of-the-art film and television production studio.
Netflix announced on Tuesday it has put in an offer on the 289-acre, state-owned Fort Monmouth army base in Monmouth county, New Jersey, with the hopes to convert it into additional studio space for its East Coast productions.
“America’s first movie studio was in New Jersey, and today it’s home to many talented people working in entertainment,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Insider on Wednesday. “We’re excited to submit our bid to transform Fort Monmouth into a state-of-the-art production facility.”
The Fort Monmouth Revitalization Planning Authority valued the site at $US54 ($AU72) million, but has previously received higher offers on the property. Fort Monmouth was recommended for closure by the Pentagon in 2005, and has officially been out-of-operation since 2011. However, the Revitalization Planning Authority has been overseeing to the redevelopment of the land since 2006.
The state of New Jersey is taking bids on the Fort Monmouth site for the next ninety days, through January 2022.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has sought to boost film and television production, as well as digital media production, in the state. The 2018 New Jersey Film & Digital Media Tax credit Program provides a 30-35% tax credit – plus a 2% “diversity bonus” – that runs through 2028.
With movie theaters reopening after COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, and demand for streaming content booming, studio space in major US production hubs, like Los Angeles and New York, have become more scarce, fueling an intense real estate grab from major studios. In the face of restrictive voting laws in Georgia, several big shows and movies have been on the search for alternative production sites.
Netflix transformed an old steel factory into a production space in Bushwick, an industrialized but gentrifying area of Brooklyn, last month. It has already begun hosting several Netflix productions. The streaming giant also invested $US1 ($AU1) billion to expand operations and acquire a studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in late 2020, creating 1,000 jobs in the state. In Spain, the company began to double its studio capacity from five to 10 sound stages, plus new post-production spaces, which is expected to be completed in 2022.
Earlier this month, studios narrowly avoided an industry-wide strike from unionized crew members looking for what they say is fairer pay in “new media” and improved working conditions. Netflix is also dealing with the fallout from a controversial comedy special that prompted dozens of its office employees to stage a walkout last week.