Big news breaking that the venerable Kaufman Astoria Studios, the film and production hub in New York City, has been bought by venture capital firms Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management.
Built in 1920, the Queens-based Kaufman Astoria Studios was the original home of Paramount Pictures and served as the backdrop to more than 100 silent films. In recent years, it has hosted series and films like Sesame Street, Netflix‘s Orange is the New Black, Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman, and the Warner Bros. heist comedy, Ocean’s 8. The campus is comprised of over 500,000 square feet of production space, including 11 sound stages, and New York City’s only studio backlot.
Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital also recently acquired Silvercup Studios in Long Island City and the Bronx, and the decision for both studios to sell might come from the fact that Netflix, a big client of the New York studios have been building their own studios in Brooklyn and New Jersey. Hackman and Square Mile also own Amazon’s home at Culver Studios in L.A.; Television City Studios (from which CBS broadcasts) in West Hollywood; the MBS Media Campus (where James Cameron’s Lightstorm Studios sis based); and Sony Pictures Animation Studios. Many of those acquisitions have been made in the last year. Overseas, Hackman and Square Mile Capital also bought Ardmore Studios in Dublin, Ireland; Troy Studios in Ireland; The Wharf Studios London; and Eastbrook Studios, the latter currently under construction and being transformed into London’s largest studio complex.
Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners, said in a statement, “We are beyond thrilled to add Kaufman Astoria to our studio portfolio and excited to further its legacy as a quintessential destination for major motion pictures and television shows. The studio has had a remarkable history over the last 90 years and has been an incredibly active and participating stakeholder in rejuvenating the entire Astoria neighborhood. We are excited to work with Hal Rosenbluth and the entire KAS team, as the studio continues to grow and excel as one of the best production facilities in the industry.”
Hal Rosenbluth, president and CEO of Kaufman Astoria Studios, says the company is “excited to start a new chapter in our 100+ year history,” adding, “Working with Michael, Craig and the MBS crew to grow the studio is the perfect fit we needed. Since inception, the commitment and vision of George Kaufman has been paramount to revitalizing the greater Astoria community, ensuring that the film and production industry serves as a pillar and economic driver for arts, culture and local small businesses. Kaufman Astoria Studios looks forward to building on our great history and expanding on the landmark studios’ success. We are thrilled that Kaufman Astoria will continue to serve as an iconic studio within the growing New York film and television market.”
Craig Solomon, CEO of Square Mile Capital, also made a statement, saying, “The acquisition of the legendary Kaufman Astoria Studios by our investment partnership is another huge step forward as we continue to build a portfolio of iconic studio properties. As demand for facilities and production services surges, we will continue to seek more opportunities to serve the growing content marketplace.”