Netflix unveils NJ plan for $848M studio at massive Fort Monmouth property
Netflix has detailed its vision for a sprawling mega parcel in Monmouth County, involving 12 sound stages at an East Coast production facility offering more than 1,500 permanent jobs.
On Wednesday, the Board of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) approved a purchase and sale & redevelopment agreement with Netflix for the nearly 300 acre property at Fort Monmouth, which was decommissioned over a decade ago.
Netflix will pay $55 million for the parcel, including a utility contribution of $5 million and the FMERA office relocation fee of $3 million, separate from the amount it has vowed to spend on creating the facility.
Plans for a “sustainable, integrated film studio campus” would be carried out in two phases over several years, involving more than 3,500 construction-related jobs, according to a joint news release with Gov. Phil Murphy.
The first phase of the project would include construction of the 12 sound stages — each ranging in size from 15,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet.
Netflix has announced it would commit $848 million in capital investments to develop the sprawling property in parts of both Eatontown and Oceanport, adjacent to Route 35.
Additional improvements could include office space, production services buildings, mill space and studio backlots, among other film industry needs.
There would also be potential for “consumer-facing components, such as retail and consumer experiences,” according to the press release.
Bidding for megaparcel
Netflix was one of four applicants that submitted proposals to FMERA by a June deadline.
In September, an anonymous group of “local residents” launched an anti-Netflix grassroots campaign in September, ahead of an announcement on which project was the top bidder.
Netflix announced itself as the top bid within weeks, which FMERA then confirmed.
NJ leaders cheer Netflix plans
Following Wednesday's vote, the deal has entered a due diligence period with local approvals needed before it can be finalized.
Gov. Murphy called it a “transformative investment” that would help New Jersey “further solidify its status as an emerging national leader in the television and film industries.”
The governor also said the production facility being built would “spark an entirely new ecosystem of housing, hotels, and ancillary businesses and services, bringing with it countless additional jobs and boosting the regional economy.”
Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said "We look forward to working with Governor Murphy, his administration and local leaders to finalize this deal in the months ahead.”
“We're thrilled to continue and expand our significant investment in New Jersey and North America. We believe a Netflix studio can boost the local and state economy with thousands of new jobs and billions in economic output, while sparking a vibrant production ecosystem in New Jersey," Sarandos added.
New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan called the project "an extraordinary next chapter in the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth following the devastating closure of the base in 2011.”
Among those also applauding the step forward were Monmouth County Senators Vin Gopal and Declan O’Scanlon, as well as Monmouth County Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone and the mayors of Eatontown and Oceanport.
Gopal called the plan to create both permanent production jobs as well as construction jobs, “a welcome boon to our economy,” while O’Scanlon said “the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth to ensure it fulfills its massive potential has been a goal of so many of us for so long.”
“The County looks forward to continuing to work with Netflix and FMERA to bring this project to fruition and we stand ready to support them with all of our resources,” Arnone said.
He continued "This project is vital for the future of Monmouth County as it will bring thousands of jobs to our surrounding municipalities."