- Netflix wants to dedicate 300 acres of the former Fort Monmouth for film and TV production.
- The Hollywood streaming giant says it could create between 1,400 and 2,200 jobs annually.
- Netflix will have at least 18 months before closing on the property and starting construction.
OCEANPORT – Lights, Camera, Netflix!
netflix, that 18 months kept Shor on pins and needles because of his plansbuys Fort Monmouth mega parcel for $55 million to build state-of-the-art manufacturing.
two months ago Netflix broke protocol when it announced that a bet had been selected in a pool of several developers vying for the fort’s mega parcel, a sprawling 300-acre site in parts of Eatontown and Oceanport.
However, it was finally confirmed Wednesday when the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority voted to enter into a sales agreement with the streaming giant to buy the Mega Parcel, in what FMERA is calling a Sale and Redevelopment Agreement.
In doing so, Netflix said it is investing more than $850 million to build one of the largest production facilities in the world, with 12 sound stages, support production facilities and lots similar in size and scope to the studios in New Mexico. It will use the studios to produce high-quality series and films, including original ones. The production will also feature on the state’s scenic walls from time to time.
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On top of that, Netflix estimates it will receive $7.4 billion to $8.9 billion in production and construction over the next 20 years. The value added to New Jersey’s economy as a direct result of these activities over the same period is estimated to be between $3.8 billion and $4.6 billion.
“This will be a key focal point for us and our production hub on the East Coast,” said Rajeev Dalal, Netflix’s director of content and studios.
Eatontown Mayor Anthony Talerico praised the efforts that went into collecting and selling the mega parcel. “I look forward to moving forward with this project,” he said.
“This transformational investment will serve as a cornerstone in our efforts to create a thriving whole-cloth industry,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a news release following the approval. “As a result of nearly billions in film production spending, New Jersey will further cement its status as a national leader in the television and film industries.
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“Furthermore, Netflix’s significant direct investment will spur new job creation and develop an entirely new ecosystem of housing, hotel and ancillary businesses and services, bringing with it countless additional jobs and boosting the regional economy,” Murphy said.
The New Jersey Office of Economic Development said Wednesday that the state’s Film and Television Commission’s annual report shows that film and television production in New Jersey broke all previous records in 2021, with the industry spending more than half a billion dollars in the state and creating more than 5,500 jobs. The industry surpassed its previous spending record by nearly $80 million.
A total of 725 movies were shot in New Jersey in 2021, including 68 feature films and 132 television series.
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In April 2021, Murphy wrote a letter to major Hollywood studios such as Disney, Warner Bros. and Netflix, trying to lure them away from Georgia after a row over changes to voter registration laws.
Murphy offered competitive tax breaks to companies as part of $14.5 billion economic stimulus package “makes the Garden State as competitive as Georgia to attract film and television businesses,” Murphy wrote in the letter.
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Murphy touted the New Jersey Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program, which he signed into law in 2018, to encourage film and television studios and productions to choose New Jersey.
While Netflix’s ears were certainly perked up by the tax breaks Murphy dangled in front of it, in the end, one of its biggest selling points was the land. Dalal said finding a “large piece of land” near a major metropolis like New York is not easy. Dalal said the company’s studios in Georgia, Toronto and Brooklyn will remain open even after the Fort Monmouth facility is built.
“We are very excited to continue and expand our significant investment in New Jersey and North America,” Ted Sarandas, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer, said in a prepared statement. “We believe Netflix Studios can boost the local and state economy with thousands of new jobs and billions in economic output, while launching a vibrant manufacturing ecosystem in New Jersey. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy, his administration and local leaders to complete this deal in the coming months. We thank the FMERA board and staff for selecting Netflix as the winner and for supporting our mission to create a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Fort Monmouth.”
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That and Dalal said Netflix was drawn to New Jersey’s workforce, which it said has top-notch teams and talent, as well as a vibrant creative sector that the company intends to leverage and further enrich.
At the height of construction, Netflix officials said they estimated the project would create about 3,500 jobs. Once the studio is fully operational, they conservatively estimate that Netflix production could create between 1,400 and 2,200 jobs annually.
In addition, Netflix expects a significant ripple effect as the production hub could trigger private sector investment in related industry infrastructure and businesses, including post-production and other digital assets and services. The center will stimulate greater industry investment in equipment, facilities and services that should create good-paying jobs.
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There’s still a long way to go before the streaming giant physically builds studios in the old fort. Netflix has a 36-month window to complete due diligence on the site and obtain local approvals before closing on the property.
FMERA is the state agency responsible for renovating Fort Monmouth, which was closed by the US Army in 2011. During the period of due diligence, the builders abandoned the various facilities of the fort. Developers have twice proposed plans for residential and commercial development on the 80-acre Lot B at the entrance to the fort on Route 35, but have failed to close on the site.
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Parcel B was wrapped in Mega Parcel in 2021 — a move that appeared to be made in anticipation of landing Netflix, which made headlines soon after in the summer of 2021 when it announced its intention to make a takeover bid.
The Mega Parcel was put up for open bidding in June this year.
The site is huge and faces many challenges, not the least of which are derelict buildings that will need to be demolished. The Mega Parcel, however, is the largest FMERA has put up for sale since it began the process of renovating the fort more than a decade ago.
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The property consists of several redevelopment areas and has been assessed at $55.4 million.
FMERA has identified Mega Parcel as a regional hub for one or more high-wage, high-growth sectors, including film and digital media, life sciences, information and high technology, clean energy, food and beverage, and residential.
Dalal said Netflix will dedicate the entire site to the production. There are areas on the site, such as parade grounds, that must remain open, as outlined in the fort’s reuse plan, which was drawn up just before the fort closed. Dalal said their final site design will likely go through several drafts before they settle on a final vision.
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“We are not 100% sure where everything will be. But you’ll probably catch a glimpse of the letter ‘N’ on our soundstages when you’re driving by,” Dalal said, referring to the Netflix logo and the location of the studio.
“We’re going to do everything we can to preserve the monuments, the flag sites, the parade grounds. There will be walking paths. It’s a truly unique facility,” he said.
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When Jersey Shore native Dan Redel isn’t breaking the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he’s a history professor. Connect with him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; email@example.com.