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‘Hollywood is coming to Port North’ with zoning change that will allow village film studio

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Port Washington North officials have approved zoning changes to add the “studio” as one of the permitted uses in the Village B Economic Development District, the first step before a 15-foot-tall film studio could be built in a shopping complex on Channel Drive.

“We’re very excited about this,” Mayor Bob Weitzner said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “Hollywood is coming to Port North.”

In the latest shot, Parviz Farahzad, an East Setauket-based developer and owner of Bethpages Grumman Studios, lowered the proposed height by 15 feet from the original 65 feet after neighboring residents raised concerns about the clutter. structures.

Weitzner described the studio as a tiered “wedding cake” with its center reaching 50 feet.

“What more could you ask for in this environment where companies regularly close [and] industries are suffering? “Said the Mayor.” It is wonderful for Port North and our residents to have a state-of-the-art movie studio in our village.

In the area, the height is capped at 25 feet. But the zoning change, approved on September 23, makes an exception for the use of a soundproof movie studio on a plot of more than 10 acres.

“The provisions of the area strictly binding it to this use and only on a parcel of 10 acres or more pretty much changes the area for that particular use right now,” the mayor said.

Farahzad bought the 13-acre complex for $ 7.3 million in 2014 from Publishers Clearing House and said he planned to spend between $ 15 million and $ 20 million to build the facility.

Instead of converting the current one-story building, Farahzad said the new plan was to raze it and start over, although the footprint will remain the same at around 105,000 square feet. A second vacant office building in the complex could be used for publishing or other production needs, he said.

Earlier this month, the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency approved tax breaks for the project, including a 15-year reduction in property taxes for the new site and a sales tax exemption that can reach $ 776,250 on building materials.

Despite the height reduction, Farahzad said two of the six planned studios will have a headroom of 40 feet, which he says is important in attracting production companies.

“It will essentially be a Grumman twin studio,” he says. “We will bring more production to Long Island. We will create more jobs for the island, good paying jobs, clean jobs.”

Enid Hawthorne, vice chairman of the board of directors of the Mill Pond Acres Condo Association, which is on Pond View Drive and borders the proposed site, had been concerned about the height of the studio.

“We complained and we expressed our feelings,” Hawthorne said. “It works to be a fabulous addition to the Port Washington community.”

Farahzad and its architect, Alex Badalamenti, of Patchogue-based architecture bld, said they plan to submit a site plan by the end of the year, which means the village could hold a public hearing. on the plan in early 2021.

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