It’s lights, camera, action for NYC’s De Niro-backed new movie studio

10 February 2022

Bjarke Ingels Group


New York, NY

United States

New York authorities give green light to Wildflower Development Group

Led by Hollywood legend, Robert De Niro, and designed by Tenderstream member Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), the vast, $600m Wildflower Studios has just been given the green light by New York Planning authorities, more than two years since plans were first revealed. 

The realisation of the 775,000 sqft studios can now commence, with completion expected late 2023. Dubbed the world's "first vertical commercial film, television and creative studio" the seven-storey building in Astoria, Queens, is expected to house 11 sound stages.

Offering views of the Manhattan skyline, the 5.25-acre site was purchased from historic piano company Steinway & Sons, which will continue operating a factory next door. A series of digital renderings released last year show the 145-foot-tall building situated behind a waterfront promenade, which will be opened to the public.

Concrete panels on the structure's exterior will be set at different angles, creating what BIG describes as "an animated effect" as the sun moves across the sky. Elsewhere, the design features cafés, offices, lounges and a roof covered in 150,000 square feet of solar panels.

The project is backed by Manhattan-based real estate developer Wildflower, alongside New York-born De Niro and the actor's long-time collaborator, producer Jane Rosenthal. De Niro's son Raphael, a real estate broker, is also involved in the project, having presented plans to New York's Department of City Planning at a hearing last June.

The project aims to lure production of some of the big-budget movies away from Hollywood to the East Coast. To foster this ambition, a statement by Wildflower promises that its new studios will combine the "collaborative environment of a Hollywood-style studio with the latest in digital production capability."

Wildflower Studios' managing partner, Adam Gordon, said in a statement: "We are determined to create a world-class content creation campus in Queens. It speaks to telling stories in all forms; streaming, AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and gaming, with a building design that looks toward the future."

Once completed, it is anticipated that the project will generate well over 1,000 permanent new jobs.

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