Company to convert existing Port Lands building and property to provide state-of-the-art facility for film and television industry
Lease completed following a multi-year RFP process
TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2022 /CNW/ - PortsToronto today announced that Cinespace Studios (Cinespace) has entered into a 30-year lease for Marine Terminal 52 to develop a studio facility that will support Toronto's successful and growing media production business. In addition to renovating the existing building, Cinespace will establish parking to service the building's tenants and introduce public-realm benefits such as enhanced streetscape and sustainability initiatives, including an improved storm-water management system.
The lease comes after a 2018 review to determine how PortsToronto's Marine Terminals property could evolve into a more diversified employment district, all while retaining its role as the location for critical facilities that support Toronto's only marine port. Cinespace similarly renovated Marine Terminal 51 four years ago and has since developed that building into a hub for Netflix productions in Canada. Cinespace's new development will support the fast-growing sector by attracting major productions and creating more than 300 new jobs at the site, and service the $2.88B industry that generates more than 48,000 jobs per year in Ontario.
The lease is the culmination of a process that began with a public Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) process completed in 2020, and a subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP) process conducted among qualified respondents in 2020/2021. An external fairness advisor was retained to oversee both processes.
Construction on the existing Marine Terminal 52 property will involve a low-impact environmental conversion of the cargo storage building into a state-of-the-art film and television studio space. The 130,000-square foot warehouse facility will be converted into three production stages and support spaces. This is in response to the priorities confirmed by the City of Toronto in its "Strategic Action Plan for the Film, Television and Digital Media Industry" as well as the industry itself that continues to realize significant success in attracting large-scale productions and requires space for studios as well as related trades such as carpentry and design.
Marine Terminal 52 and the surrounding land is classified as "Schedule C" property in PortsToronto's Letters Patent. As such, this property is not federally owned, but is rather private property owned by PortsToronto that can be leased or sold for commercial purposes.
As part of the lease agreement, and in addition to renovation of the marine terminal building, Cinespace will commit to public realm benefits such as streetscape enhancements, landscaping, environmental improvements, and will explore concepts for future community benefit and use in the surrounding area.
Quote from PortsToronto
"As part of a strategy to ensure that all of PortsToronto's properties are fully utilized, a review of the properties we own in the port was undertaken in 2018. The goal was to identify opportunities to have the existing land and buildings deliver maximum benefit in the area, including greater support for the growing employment district that has emerged in the Port Lands and to provide amenities to better service recreational uses through the exploration of cafes, environmental improvements and public realm enhancements such as landscaping, seating and parking."
"The development announced today was facilitated through a public process to ensure there was both an organizational and public realm benefit associated with the development. It was also essential that any future development or activities were consistent with the activities of a successful and operational port, as this remains PortsToronto's priority in the area given the economic impact of the port for both commercial shipping and cruise ship operations. We are excited by the opportunity to support and grow Toronto's production industry and contribute to a vision for the area that will result in jobs, economic impact and the creation of innovative media with Canadians talent and craftspeople."
RJ Steenstra, President and Chief Executive Officer
Quote from Cinespace Studios
"We are proud to continue our investment in Toronto that started over 30 years ago. It's a privilege to partner with PortsToronto again and to be selected to develop Terminal 52 into a second facility that will meet the increased demand for production infrastructure. The Marine Terminal Studio Hub is an integral part of the Port Lands' revitalization and its future as a creative center for the city and the province."
Ashley Rice, President and Co-Managing Partner
Quote from the Premier of Ontario
"Ontario is open for business and with the ongoing commitment of key players like Cinespace Studios, our economy will continue to grow. Last year, Ontario saw $2.88 billion spent on production here in the province which was the highest amount in our history. Going forward, we remain fully committed to growing the industry and creating the conditions for thousands more production jobs to be filled by Ontario's skilled workers."
The Honourable Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Quote from Mayor of Toronto
"The film and television production industry in Toronto is important to the local economy, the creation of jobs, and the culture of our city. I am pleased that PortsToronto and Cinespace will be expanding their already successful infrastructure in the Port Lands by creating a second studio space for productions to use. Toronto's screen industries have experienced a period of significant growth and investment over the last decade and we know that there has been a real need for even more studio space. This project will not only help us attract more projects and more people to our city, but as a result add more jobs which is good for our city and good for the economy."
Mayor John Tory
City of Toronto
Quote from Councillor Paula Fletcher
"I have long been an advocate for the importance of this industry and the associated benefits that come from having a strong media and cultural sector in the City of Toronto. The partnership between PortsToronto and Cinespace has already yielded a successful studio in the former Marine Terminal 51, that has since become a hub for Netflix. I look forward to the development of a second studio space in Marine Terminal 52, and the related streetscape improvements, economic impacts, and jobs that result from investment in this important industry."
Councillor Paula Fletcher
Ward 14 – Danforth
Quote from IATSE/Film Labour Union
"We congratulate Cinespace Studios on their expansion with PortsToronto in the Studio District. This new studio infrastructure is a welcome addition to the city that will bring an increase in productions and, in turn, opportunities for our skilled motion picture technicians."
President, IATSE 873
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and the marine Port of Toronto that includes businesses in a variety of sectors including marine shipping, cargo services, media production and passenger cruises. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $12 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a board with representation from all three levels of government.
About Cinespace Studios
Cinespace Studios is a best-in-class global platform of production facilities that supports content providers and their creatives. The platform is one of the largest sound stage operators globally with locations in Chicago, Toronto, and Studio Babelsberg in Germany. Cinespace Studios delivers the highest level of service while increasing the quality of the overall production experience and nurtures its local communities to support workforce development and crew diversity.
Cinespace Toronto is home to productions that include AMC Networks' upcoming Beacon 23, WBTV's Titans, MGM TV/Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, Sony Pictures TV's Accused, MGM's Flint Strong, UCP's The Umbrella Academy and Netflix's upcoming collection of sinister stories Cabinet of Curiosities.
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