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Former Staten Island Prison to Become Movie Studio

By Nicholas Rizzi | February 18, 2014 5:54pm
 Broadway Stages announced they would turn the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility into a movie studio.
Staten Island Movie Studio
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CHARLESTON — It's lights, camera, action for a shuttered Staten Island prison.

Broadway Stages announced a plan Tuesday to transform the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility into the borough's first movie studio. The $20 million facility, which they bought from the state for $7 million, will film movies, television shows and music videos, officials said. 

"This is big," said Borough President James Oddo. "This is a wonderful moment in Staten Island history."

The company, which owns sound stages in Brooklyn and Queens, boasts a resume filled with high-profile movies and shows filmed at their other locations, including "Rescue Me," "Spiderman 3" and music videos by artists including Kanye West and Jay-Z.

"Broadway Stages has been a major player in film and television here in New York City," said Kenneth Adams, president of the Empire State Development Corporation. "They're bursting at the seams at their other locations."

In the first phase, Broadway Stages plans to build five sound stages on the property, and owner Tony Argento said he plans to keep all the buildings from the former jail for future film scenes. Argento said he hopes to get started on the construction as soon as possible.

The Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, on Arthur Kill Road, was shuttered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011, part of his effort to close prisons across the state to save money.

Cuomo pitched an idea on Monday to turn many of the former prisons into colleges, and Adams said the state would look for unique ideas — like the film studio — for all unused buildings and spaces in the state.

This wasn't the first time a plan to put a sound stage in the borough came up, with actor Danny Aiello pushing for one at the Homeport more than 10 years ago, but the plan eventually fell through.

State Sen. Andrew Lanza, who donned a cowboy hat and used the announcement as an audition for a future acting career, said he never thought the borough would get another opportunity to attract a movie studio.

"Welcome to Hollywood East," Lanza said. "This is the beginning of an incredible chapter for the people on Staten Island."