Film, TV studio proposed for Port North

Film, TV studio proposed for Port North
The site of the former Publishers Clearing House at the end of Channel Drive, which has been abandoned for three years. (Photo courtesy of Google)

Could Port Washington North become the Hollywood of the North Shore?

The owners of a building on Channel Drive that previously housed Publishers Clearing House want to turn the structure into a studio for filming movies and television shows. The plan was presented for the first time to the village’s Board of Trustees during its meeting last Wednesday.

“I think this is beyond exciting. I think it’s one of the most innovative, creative concepts that I’ve seen come to Port North in the 16 years since I’ve been here,” said Mayor Bob Weitzner.

Weitzner said the village received a letter last month from the owner of the building to present a plan to the board.

“This is the first opportunity for the public to get a better sense of what might be,” he said. “But it is an informal hearing.”

The building is 100,000 square feet with a low ceiling and has been sitting vacant for about three years. Gary Krupnick, the president and CEO of West Rac Contracting, presented the plan to the board. He said he wanted to raise the ceilings to 65 or 35 feet in certain areas but stay within the building’s footprint. He said the landscaping around the building — including the pond in front of the building — would be maintained or improved.

The facility would have three separate sound studios and a small cafeteria. He said entrances would be set up so that video and equipment trucks would not have to drive around the building.

The building is already zoned for industrial use. What Krupnick wanted from the board was a relaxing of restrictions on building heights. He said that filming for movies requires ceiling heights of at least 50 feet.

He compared it to Grumman Studios in Bethpage, the former aircraft works that was transformed into a studio and used to film movies such as “The Avengers.” He said it would bring jobs to the area and would not make noise.

“Port North Studios has got a great ring to it,” Weitzner said. “We’re anxious to take this to the next step.”

Despite the excitement, Weitzner said that the village would take its time on the project. The board said the next step was to bring drawings to the village that would show a 3-D model of the building.

Earlier in the meeting, the board held a public hearing on a proposal to ban parking or stopping on Sandy Court. Weitzner said there had been numerous accidents on the street and that the issue had been brought to his attention by a traffic safety officer and a resident on Sandy Court.

“If cars are parked there, it makes left-hand turns from Soundview on to Sandy treacherous and dangerous,” he said. No one spoke at the public hearing, and the proposal passed unanimously.

The village’s Bay Walk will soon receive a couple of upgrades. The village received grant money from the county for beautification, which will go toward replacing the village’s broken clock and a 16-foot-diameter gazebo.

The board also approved sign applications for Shell gas stations at 80 Old Shore Road and 99 Shore Road.

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

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