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Silvercup plans $1B expansion on East River

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The 2-million-square-foot project, known as Silvercup West, will also create an estimated 4,000 new permanent jobs and more than 4,000 temporary jobs during its construction, said Silvercup CEO Stuart Match Suna."Silvercup continues to play a leading role in the city's effort to attract film and television production," said CEO Alan Suna, who co-owns the studio with his brother. "The new complex will bolster our industry while also meeting other important objectives such as creating housing, opening the waterfront for public access, generating additional revenue for the city as well as the state and creating thousands of well-paying jobs."Silvercup West will be located on Vernon Boulevard on a six-acre waterfront site just south of the Queensboro Bridge and six blocks west of Silvercup's main facility. A spokesman for the studio said construction on the project will likely begin in early 2007 and should be finished in two years.Stuart Match Suna said although the expansion project was planned a while ago, the recent success in bringing film and television productions back to the city through a city tax break and a state tax credit boosted the creation of Silvercup West.Gov. George Pataki announced in January that the Empire State Film Production Credit, which provides a tax credit of 10 percent for production costs to feature films and television shows shot in a state production facility, will be made permanent and will increase from $25 million to $35 million annually beginning in 2009. In addition, the governor's action will allow the city to increase the cap on the Made in New York Incentive Program, which grants tax breaks, marketing credits and other benefits to television shows and films that complete 75 percent of their production in New York City. Beginning in 2009, the city program will be increased from $12.5 million to $30 million annually.Stuart Match Suna said the tax programs have already boosted the number of films and television pilots being shot at Silvercup. He said the overwhelming number of productions returning to the city acted as an incentive to move plans for Silvercup West forward."The success of the city and state film tax credit program has been huge," he said. "Last fall New York had seven new pilots. Silvercup got five of them. There has been a flood of new movies coming to New York, from low budget films to mega-budget films. We really want the next 'Seinfeld' or 'NYPD Blue' to be shot in New York rather than in California."The studio, which was opened by the Suna brothers in 1983, has recently seen an increase in film and television productions using its lots, including HBO's "The Sopranos," NBC Universal Television pilot "Kidnapped" and films "Little Children," starring Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly, and "The Devil Wore Prada," starring Meryl Streep.Silvercup West will be designed by British architect Lord Richard Rogers. In addition to 1,000 residential units and eight new soundstages, the expansion will include 665,000 square feet of office and retail space, a 40,000-square- foot catering hall, a 100,000-square-foot cultural institution and a waterfront esplanade and plazas.Elected officials praised the expansion of the studio and the amount of jobs Silvercup West will create."Silvercup provides enormous economic growth opportunities in Queens," said state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D- Astoria). "I look forward to seeing this project through to fruition."Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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