1888 Studios in Bayonne earns Film-Lease Partner designation

1.5M sq. ft. development by Togus Urban Renewal will feature 23 sound stages and production support space

Architectural rendering of proposed retaining wall at Studio Entrance.

In another move that signals an ever-growing television and film industry in the state, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority on Wednesday designated 1888 Studios in Bayonne a Film-Lease Partner Facility.

The designation agreement, which commits the developer to occupying the facility for at least five years, grants future tenants eligibility to apply for increased tax credits for projects filmed at the facility under the state’s Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program.

The studios, being developed by Togus Urban Renewal, will stand as the largest and first campus-style film and television studio facility in the Northeast and one of the largest in the nation, occupying 58 acres of land and 20 acres in the Newark Bay just miles from New York City.

Designed by Gensler to evoke imagery of Golden Age Hollywood, the development will include 23 mega-powered smart sound stages ranging from 18,000 to 60,000 square feet with 40- to 50-foot-height ceilings, more than 350,000 square feet of production support space, outdoor backlot space, amenities, office spaces, mills, lighting and grip facilities, parking garage and storage. The development also will feature a waterfront park and promenade accessible to the public.

1888 Studios is expected to open in 2026.

Gov. Phil Murphy is eager for that day to come.

“The designation issued to 1888 Studios today underscores the immense artistic and economic growth that is achievable through the production boom we continue to see in our great state of New Jersey,” he said.

“Establishing New Jersey as a hub for entertainment and media production has been a priority of mine since taking office. There is extreme, growing demand for sound stage space globally. Our community and family-driven values, paired with our unmatched incentive offerings, make New Jersey a natural home for our entertainment and media partners.”

To be designated as a Film-Lease Partner, developers and operators must commit to occupying and operating studio developments in New Jersey for at least five years. Future tenants of a Film-Lease Partner Facility can receive increased tax credit awards for filming in New Jersey. The tax credit award increases if the designated facility’s tenant qualifies as a “film-lease production company.” To qualify, the production company must occupy space at designated Film-Lease Partner Facility, film at least 50% of the total project shoot days in New Jersey and film at least 50% of the New Jersey shoot days at the designated facility.

Arpad Busson, chairman of Togus Urban Renewal, said his group is glad to be coming to New Jersey.

“We are honored Gov. Murphy invited us to take part in fulfilling his ambitious vision to catapult New Jersey — the birthplace of moviemaking and the home of the first film studio, Thomas Edison’s the Black Maria — back onto the world stage, reclaiming its title as the premier destination for entertainment production,” he said. “Without that vision and his administration’s relentless commitment to this industry, none of this would be possible.

“Receiving this first-of-its-kind designation for 1888 Studios is largely due to the unwavering support of Mayor Jimmy Davis of Bayonne. For years, he tirelessly worked to revitalize the city, culminating in the development of this state-of-the-art facility. Thanks to (EDA CEO) Tim Sullivan and the NJEDA, New Jersey offers a leading tax credit program and infrastructure that will ensure the state’s competitiveness for years to come.”

Sullivan said the designation speaks to vision.

“Gov. Phil Murphy’s revival of New Jersey’s Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program has made the state a hub of film and media production, attracting hundreds of millions in revenue and creating thousands of good-paying jobs,” he said.

“Today’s designation of 1888 Studios as a Film-Lease Partner Facility highlights how the state’s generous incentives, breadth of local talent and diverse filming locations are attracting the development of world-class studio spaces, transforming regional economies.”