PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island could soon be getting another big movie studio.
A developer said it would bring jobs and a boost to the economy.
But some residents call it a tall order and are not rolling out the red carpet just yet, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
Movie making has become big business on Long Island. Feature films, live and streaming shows have all been shot at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, in old aerospace hangars converted into sound stages.
Now, its owner wants to transform another vacant industrial lot, this time in Port Washington.
“There is a big need for it. It creates a lot of good-paying jobs and has the least impact. It’s one of the most cleanest industries you can have,” said Pariz Farahzad, president of Grumman Studios.
Farahzad said there’s a huge demand for production space because city sound stages are often too small for some productions. His vision is to use a vacant, 100,000-square foot warehouse, raise the ceiling to 65 feet and create six sound stages.
Not everyone is as star struck.
“No, I would not be happy with a movie studio. There’s really no need for it, if you ask me,” resident Paul DeLello said.
“That height was never allowed before. So if you start allowing, it sets a precedent,” Michelle Jordan added.
Several residents who live right next to the property said they’re worried the movie studio would rise above the tree line.
“It opens up a can of worms to other people that want to do whatever they want to do,” a resident said.
“It change the character of the town from more suburban to more urban,” another said.
Port Washington North Village Mayor Bob Weitzner said 65 feet its not etched in stone. The village is working with the architect to mitigate the impact on the community. But a movie studio replacing a shuttered industrial plant could be a boon to the economy.
“A movie studio is exciting for us. At the same time … it’s blending the proposed use with the concerns of our residents and hopefully coming up with a compromise,” Weitzner said.
The developer also looking for a compromise to, “create a situation that has the least impact on the neighboring properties,” Farahzad said.
If the village approves the zoning change, the developer said it could be lights, camera, action in about a year.
The village will make a decision after an environmental impact study is complete.