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Developer sheds light on LIC studio plans

A Long Island City developer said he believes the new movie and television studio he helped create in the former space of a longtime motor products factory will eventually rival western Queens’ two major studios.

Jeff Rosenblum, who operates Long Island City firm Acumen Capital Partners LLC, purchased the seven−story building at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 39th Street from Standard Motor Products last year after that company moved its manufacturing operations to Mexico.

The building’s current tenants include Standard’s offices, graphic design firms, a musical engineer and a jewelry manufacturer. The 300,000−square−foot building has also provided space for independent films and television shows produced by ABC, NBC, HBO and 20th Century Fox to shoot, Rosenblum said.

He said he may eventually expand the building’s studio operations.

“We’ll see as the need grows if there will be more space,” he said. “The sets are open space and we have wardrobes for dressing.”

He said the studio, which will retain the name Standard Motor Products, currently has several TV shows and a few larger feature films eyeing its space.

The building is currently in the midst of a $12 million renovation, which will include new lighting fixtures, elevators, corridors and windows, as well as upgraded bathrooms and electrical supply, Rosenblum said.

So far, the ABC show “The Unusuals” and independent films “Coach” and “A New York Thing” have been shot at the studio, he said.

But much like the borough’s two largest studios — Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios — Standard will likely rely on city and state tax incentives to draw in business.

The owners and operators of those studios recently said they were concerned after a state tax credit that helped revive the city’s film industry ran out of money a few weeks ago. The tax credit, which covers up to 35 percent of production expenditures for films and TV shows that primarily shoot in the state, had drawn shows such as “Ugly Betty” and a number of films, including the upcoming “The Taking of Pelham 123,” to the borough from historically cheaper locales.

Studio heads at Silvercup and Kaufman Astoria said they had not signed any new pilots after news of the depleted tax credit had spread. They recently said they hoped the state Legislature would restore money for the credit. The state budget’s deadline is April 1.

But Rosenblum said he was not too concerned about a decline in state tax incentives and that Standard would not rely solely on film and TV production.

“The tax incentives are what bring the business here,” he said. “But we have other tenants in the building. It’s not strictly a movie production building. The space could easily be converted back to traditional office−type use.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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