West Orange NJ Film Ready
General Business

Cutting-Edge Film Studio Approved for West Orange

West Orange Township Council has granted approval for the establishment of a cutting-edge film studio in the municipality.

Situated near the historic Thomas Edison National Historical Park, the proposed film studio will be located behind the Edison Lofts on Main Street, the last standing structure of Edison’s once expansive laboratory complex. The project, a collaboration with Matrix Development Group, is set on approximately 12.2 acres within the town’s Film Services Overlay District. The project aims to diversify West Orange’s mixed-use development and economic foundation by fostering film production activities, specifically ‘studio use,’ adjacent to the historic site of the world’s first film production studio.

West Orange Mayor Susan McCartney stated, “We are thrilled about this Film Studio project that promises to propel West Orange forward economically for generations to come. A film studio in downtown West Orange, situated at the heart where motion pictures were invented in the Black Maria, Edison’s first film production studio, is not only fitting, but is poised to bring prosperity to our town, echoing the impact of Thomas Edison in the late 1880s. This venture ensures financial stability that will positively resonate with our business owners, residents, and the local economy.”

Matrix Development Group has acquired redevelopment rights for the project, contributing $200,000 to the township, mirroring the anticipated property taxes for the year 2023. The due diligence period may extend for an additional eight months, accompanied by a potential supplementary payment of $200,000. During this phase, Matrix will formulate project details, finalize a purchase and sale agreement for the designated properties, provide monthly progress reports, and conduct a thorough evaluation of environmental conditions.

Envisioned to span between 150,000 and 350,000 square feet, the studio will feature three to six production stages ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet each. Each production stage will be equipped with on-site production services, encompassing grip and electric, equipment, props, set building, location catering, cleaning services, and security. The facility will also include office and support spaces, along with parking facilities capable of accommodating 200 to 400 cars and 30 to 60 trucks. Upon full operation, the project anticipates the creation of 300 to 600 new full-time jobs, catalyzing economic growth in the region.

Riding on the coattails of this exciting film studio announcement is the township’s recent designation as a Film Ready Community by the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission (NJMPTVC) – part of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).

“Our new designation as a Film Ready Community by the NJMPTVC will allow us to better accommodate movie and television producers and effectively market ourselves as a premier film destination,” said McCartney.

Film Ready New Jersey is a 5-step certification and marketing program that educates municipalities on the basics of motion picture and television production and sets basic standards for attracting filmmaking. The “film-ready” designation provides an elevated platform for certified communities to promote themselves as filming destinations and connects film and television professionals with skilled and knowledgeable liaisons across the state.

The film studio project and the Township’s new Film Ready Community designation signify a pivotal moment in West Orange’s history, marking the dawn of a new era in cinematic innovation and economic development. The community eagerly anticipates the unfolding of this cinematic journey in the birthplace of the modern film industry.

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