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Kaufman Astoria Studios Expanding With 2 New Sound Stages

June 9, 2016 4:48pm | Updated June 9, 2016 4:48pm
The new outdoor studio is marked by a massive gated entrance on 35th Street, complete with a working catwalk that extends 40-feet above street level.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — A local film studio that's home to shows like "Sesame Street" and "Orange is the New Black" is expanding its footprint in the neighborhood with two new sound stages that are expected to break ground this fall.

Kaufman Astoria Studios will construct a new 4-story building on its Queens campus at the corner of 34th Avenue and 36th Street on what's currently a parking lot, officials announced Thursday.

The building will house two production stages measuring 15,000 and 8,500 square feet, as well as offices on the higher floors and an underground parking garage, according to the plans.

Plans for one of the stages were originally announced in 2014, but the project was delayed, a spokeswoman for the studios said.

Once completed, Kaufman Astoria will boast 12 sound stages in total, including the city's only outdoor film lot that opened in 2014.

"There is no better place to make a movie or TV show than New York City," Hal Rosenbluth, the studios' president, said in a statement.

"With the tremendous growth of the entertainment industry here, our stages are constantly occupied, and we’re thrilled that with the new stages we will be able to expand the number of productions that call New York home," he said.

The film studio complex was built in 1920, and was the original home to Paramount Pictures. Developer George Kaufman took over the space in 1980, and the studios have since been used for well-known productions like "Eat, Pray, Love," "Men in Black 3" and "Nurse Jackie."

In 2014, the city renamed the area around the studio the Kaufman Arts District.

Kaufman Astoria is one of several players in the city's active film and television industry, which officials say brings in almost $9 billion a year.

The project will break ground this fall and is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete, the company said.