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Rendering Revealed: De Niro Group Taps Bjarke Ingels To Design New Astoria Studios

A $400M movie studio planned for Astoria just got a bit more star power.

Bjarke Ingels Group is designing a film studio planned for the former site of the Steinway & Sons piano storage facility. Wildflower Ltd. is joining with Robert De Niro, his son, Raphael, and producer Jane Rosenthal to build the project, which would span 650K SF. The developers also revealed the first renderings with the announcement of Ingels' hiring Thursday.

“It has been incredible to work with such an iconic cast of collaborators from all aspects of visual media to imagine the future of film production in New York City,” BIG founder Bjarke Ingels said in a statement. "Due to the unique space conditions of working on an urban site, we were challenged by Wildflower to distill all the physical, logistical, technical and experiential aspects of film production into a one of a kind vertical village for film."

Wildflower Development Group hopes to start construction on Wildflower Studios next year. It is being envisaged as a hub for film, television, augmented reality and virtual reality — and is expected to generate more than 1,000 union jobs. It would feature a range of stages and production-support areas and offices, and representatives have been meeting with local officials and community members for months, the group said.

The site for the $400M facility is along 19th Avenue in Astoria, according to Commercial Observer, which reported in June that Wildflower was under contract to buy a property there. Piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons controlled the land before selling to the partnership.

De Niro, who said in the release that the studio is a “testament to the strength and future of the New York film and television production industry,” has tried to build a film studio in New York City before.

In the late 1990s, he wanted to build television and movie soundstages with the since-disgraced Harvey Weinstein at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but the deal went south after the city backed out. Doug Steiner’s Steiner Studios is now flourishing at the site.

Meanwhile, streaming giant Netflix earlier this year announced $100M expansion plans in the city, including studios in Brooklyn.

The company is leasing 100K SF at Normandy Real Estate Partners’ 888 Broadway in Manhattan's Flatiron District. It has also taken 161K SF at 333 Johnson Ave. in Bushwick, where it will build six soundstages over five years.