Looking to bring more of Hollywood into the borough, Kaufman Astoria Studios is expanding this summer beyond its doors and into the outdoors.
The expansion, which was part of a thought-out process since the 1980s, includes two new gates and an outdoor movie set, on 36th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues. It is the only one of its kind in the city.
“We want to put the physical aspect of what people think of when they expect to pull up to a studio,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president at Kaufman Astoria Studios.
The outdoor studio space is expected to bring in more movie and TV producers because it will allow them to leave up sets for extended periods of time.
“It will allow actors to be in a controlled environment without having to worry about being in a neighborhood in Manhattan,” Rosenbluth said.
Local officials expect Kaufman will sustain and expand upon the economic development it spurred when it first came into the neighborhood two decades ago.
“The expansion of Kaufman Astoria Studios is another sign of the great success of New York’s film tax credit, which has been the most successful economic development initiative in the last decade,” State Senator Mike Gianaris said.
The immediate area could also see the development of more stages, condominiums or rental apartments and a hotel.
“This project … will mean jobs and increased economic activity for Astoria and western Queens,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
After its opening, the set’s primary purpose will be used by producers looking to film in Queens. But Rosenbluth hopes to work with different organizations in the neighborhood in order to involve the community as a whole.
“It will serve from a producer to the general public coming to watch a movie and getting something to eat,” Rosenbluth said.