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Lights, Camera... Action for $7 mil Studio Space

Lights, Camera……Action for $7million Studio Space

Bob Harvey with a
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Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey: “This new studio and sound stage will be as good as anything in the world.”

June 29, 2006

Media Release (For Immediate Release)

Lights, Camera……Action for $7million Studio Space

The country’s largest film studio and sound stage is to be built in Henderson.

Waitakere City Council last night voted to enter into a joint venture with the Tony Tay Group to develop the $7 million facility.

The 2000sq m of floor space will also have 15m of clear space to the ceiling (tall enough to construct a double storey building) as well as separate production offices. It will be built on land at the existing Henderson Valley Studios in Henderson Valley Road, which already has four other studios of around 1000sq m each.

Under the arrangement the Council will exchange the land and buildings it currently owns for 44.5% of shares in the new joint-venture company.

The Council purchased the old ENZA cool stores in Henderson Valley Road in 2002, turning them into New Zealand’s largest film studio complex. The site has been managed by the City’s wholly owned property company, Waitakere Properties Ltd.

Numerous New Zealand and international feature films, television programmes, and TV advertisements have been filmed at the Henderson Valley Studios complex, including the biggest budget movie in the world last year, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says the development has both local and international significance.

“Thanks to our great locations, superb technical people and the vast spaces that are at the (Henderson Valley) Studios, we can cater for large international projects, right down to local TV game shows. This new studio and sound stage will be as good as anything in the world and that means we will be even more attractive to major overseas studios.”

Those comments are echoed by ex-pat Kiwi film producer and director Roger Donaldson. Mr Donaldson’s credits include Hollywood blockbusters like Cocktail (starring Tom Cruise), Cadillac Man and The Recruit, and more recently The World’s Fastest Indian. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

The multi award-winner says: “New Zealand has stunning locations but in many ways locations can be re-created anywhere. With the right weather conditions, Poland can look like Paris in the spring-time. What international projects really need are big studios spaces and make no mistake, if you build it, they will come.”

“This is a great project. Wellington has good studio space and now the Auckland region is well catered for too.”

The film and television industries inject an estimated $60 million a year into the local economy and a detailed economic impact report prepared for AREDS (Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy) projects that the new facility will create hundreds of new jobs and contribute $32 million to Waitakere City’s GDP over a five year period.

“The spin-off of this project is clearly more jobs and local investment, as well as a better served film and TV industry” says Mayor Harvey.

The new studio project will also receive close to $1 million in Government funding from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Major Regional Initiative Fund.

The announcement is welcomed by Waitakere’s economic development agency, Enterprise Waitakere. CEO John Wadsworth says: “A sound stage is a core piece of screen industry infrastructure.”

“Combined with proximity to diverse locations and a growing network of studios, production houses and other industry support services, the sound stage gives real force to Waitakere’s drive to become the screen production hub for Auckland,” he says.

“It will increase Waitakere’s competitiveness internationally and benefit the local industry too because not only will they have use of the facility but they will gain invaluable experience by working alongside larger-scale international ventures.”

Mayor Harvey says that in the year since the Council sought expressions of interests from the private sector it carefully evaluated each potential partner.

“We looked here and overseas,” he says. “And we’re delighted to have Tony Tay and his team on board. They bring proven construction experience and commercial nous and are committed to the film and television industry as a whole.”

Tony Tay Group will manage the physical construction as well as providing over half of the funding for the project.

Malaysian born Tony Tay is a committed Christian whose company has been a major player in the Auckland property market since 1989.

There are 28 separate companies in the Tay Group, which has been involved in many major developments in Auckland in recent years. These include:

- “Sapphire”, a $35 million residential and retail development in Wakefield St, Auckland City

- Numerous developments in Waitakere City, including the development of the Crown Lynn apartments complex in New Lynn

- A $10 million joint venture carpark and apartment development with Auckland City Council

- A $45 million hotel currently under construction in Hobson St, Auckland City

Mr Tay says he and his company are excited by the prospect of the studios development. “We have worked in Waitakere City before and are excited about the potential that the film industry has,” he says. “It is a sunrise industry that needs infrastructure like this to keep it ahead of the game internationally.”

“As a group we have established ourselves as solid and reputable and we are now looking forward to the adding the studios development to our list of successes.”

Work on the new studio and sound stage is expected to start in November and will take about seven months to complete.


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