The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has halted the progress of several commercial real estate projects in New York City. One of them is the latest addition to Kaufman Astoria’s campus ― the Queens Astoria Studios Office — located at 34 36th Street. Work on the 97,000-square-foot Queens office space began in February 2017 and was scheduled for completion by May. JRT Realty’s Ellen Israel, Greg Smith and Lauren Calandriello are in charge of leasing, aiming to attract creative companies that want to set up base outside of Manhattan.
Architecture firm GLUCK+ was in charge of reimagining what was previously a backlot ― an outdoor stage used to film exterior shots ― and converting it into an attractive property for future tenants. The project will house two sound stages totaling 25,000 square feet, as well as ancillary space for production offices, makeup, prop and dressing rooms, and showers. Roughly 65,000 square feet within the four-story building will be allocated to commercial office spaces, with terraces on the third and fourth floors. The 84-foot-tall office space is also generously lit through several vertical punch windows, and the 14-foot ceilings add to the airy, luminous ambience envisioned by GLUCK+.
Additionally, special care was given to soundproofing the building. For instance, the ceilings and underground parking garage were sprayed with an acoustically absorbent material, and there is padding under the floors throughout the property. What’s more, the two sound stages have 12-inch-thick masonry block walls, the HVAC system has a special noise-reducing lining, and even the plumbing is insulated between concrete slabs to prevent noisy pipes from interfering with any sound recordings.
Kaufman Astoria Studios has been a fixture in Queens since the 1920s. At present, its 500,000-square foot campus includes nine other stages and a restaurant. Throughout the years, it was the birthplace of everything from silent movies to TV shows like “Sesame Street” and several episodes of “Orange is the New Black.”
Since the adoption of a $420 million annual tax credit in 2004, New York City has become a film-friendly city. Much like Toronto, Vancouver and Atlanta, it seeks to attract projects looking for both scenic urban environments and production cost reductions. In fact, an increasing number of TV series are shot in the city — 67 in the 2018-2019 season, according to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment ― and the city hosts an average of 300 shoots a year. Demand for production and office space is especially strong from streaming companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, as well as a host of rivals playing catch-up, including Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max.