Buffalo’s film scene is turning up the heat once again. This time, Cindy Abbott-Letro, Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, Matt Fleckenstein, CEO and Founder Buffalo Studios, and Mayor Byron W. Brown have announced that a new sound stage and studio facility will be built out on a 27-acre parcel on South Park Avenue.
Fleckenstein, a multiple Emmy-nominated writer, and producer with 15+ years of experience developing, writing, and producing television programs, is spearheading the project, which will be instrumental in providing film producers with trained professionals and film amenities that are needed for film towns (such as Buffalo) to excel in the competitive industry.
CEO Matt Fleckenstein said of the project, “Buffalo Studios will be the first true Hollywood movie studio in Western New York, bringing unparalleled sound stage capabilities to the city of Buffalo for major film and TV projects and offering film industry jobs across Western New York.”
Currently, there is no comparable sound stage/studio in the area and business is often lost to Canadian facilities.
Phase I of the work will get underway with the cleanup of the site thanks to the NYS Brownfield Clean-Up Program – the site was the location of a steel mill. Initially, 10 acres will be tackled, which will allow for 6 stages, including support and office space. Once complete, the campus will offer state-of-the-art film studios, with sound stages for film, television, and commercial productions.
This is a huge deal for Buffalo. Over the years, this city has begun to attract some heavy hitting films, while reaping the rewards in the process. This new project will take Buffalo to an entirely different level – these are the types of production amenities that film advocates have been calling for, for years.
“As my Administration continues to build on its commitment to increase access and opportunity for City residents who work in the film and television industry, today’s announcement that a second major studio is under development in our community reinforces that Buffalo is a destination for filmmakers, people want to come here and they want to make movies,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown, who was on hand for the announcement and welcomed the investment in the city. “I thank Project Developer and Western New York Native Matt Fleckenstein, a multiple Emmy-nominated writer and producer, for his major commitment to this project at a time of economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, that will create hundreds of good-paying jobs, generate local revenue, and further build upon Buffalo’s growing film industry.”
“This project has been a long time in the making – my office first met with Matt back in February 2019 – and today’s announcement is a testament to the commitment that Matt and Adam have – not just for Buffalo Studios, but for Buffalo and Western New York as a whole,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “This facility is exactly the type of project that policymakers hope for when we strengthen programs like the Brownfield Tax Credit, which will help make the site shovel ready, or when we fight for the New York State Film Tax Credit, which has helped to make Buffalo a top destination for filmmakers. I applaud Matt and the entire Buffalo Studios team for their vision and look forward to seeing this incredible investment move forward.”
“Not only will Buffalo Studios bring jobs to the city but it will also offer academic collaborations with the University of Buffalo to train students in the full spectrum of film and animation production,” said Fleckenstein. “This will allow for future generations of Buffalonians to be educated in the newest technology and skills used in film making and other productions – and to be able to work on those projects in their own backyard.”
“The potential of adding nearly 50-75% more maker and exhibition space has been sorely missing in Media Study at UB, whose number of majors now exceed 250 undergraduates and 35 graduate students who primarily come from New York State with many coming from out of state and internationally to study at UB,” said Dr. Tom Feeley, Chair of Media Study at UB, who applauded the project. “Bringing UB downtown is really our manifest destiny in the department and where we belong – most of our students and faculty live downtown and much of their art is situated there. Having a satellite campus on the Buffalo Studios property is an amazing opportunity.”
The project, located at 1176 South Park Avenue, is expected to break ground in late spring 2021 with the tentative completion date toward the end of 2022.
Buffalo Studios has developed additional partnerships and collaborative efforts to ensure success of the project including working with economic development representatives and leaders from local industry unions including: Local 52 Motion Picture Studio Mechanics and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States.