Massive new 600,000 sq. ft. film studio to be built in Metro Vancouver

Sep 7 2019, 6:01 am

When complete, Martini Film Studios’ (MFS) new purpose-built, world-class facility in Metro Vancouver will be the largest film and production studio in Canada and one of North America’s biggest.

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MFS announced today it will be a tenant of the new 80-acre Langley 216 Business Park that will be constructed next to Highway 1’s new 216th Street interchange in Langley Township’s Walnut Grove area. The studio’s parent company is the owner of the entire business park property.

The film and production studio component will account for 25 acres of 216 Business Park, creating 600,000 sq. ft. of soundstages, offices, and production support buildings.

At least 300,000 sq. ft. of the floor area will be purposed as soundstages.

216 business park Langley

Leasing plan showing the site of 216 Business Park in Langley Township, where Martini Film Studios’ new facility will be located. (Form Real Estate Advisors)

The project is currently undergoing detailed design and planning based on industry and client consultation, and it will provide synergies with MFS’ nearby studio facilities.

MFS first opened in Metro Vancouver in 2017 with warehouse-to-studio converted facilities, totalling 250,000 sq. ft. at 9390-9390 198th Street and 19714 96th Avenue near Highway 1’s 200 Street interchange in Langley City.

Upon the completion of the new facility, MFS will more than triple its current size and capacity, and become the largest provider of film studio facilities in the region. It is estimated Metro Vancouver’s film and television production capacity will increase by up to 15% as a result of the new 216th Street studio location.

“We’ve enjoyed phenomenal support from our industry partners and the entertainment community since launching Martini Film Studios,” said Gemma Martini, founder and CEO of MFS, in a statement.

MFS has a close partnership with Netflix; its existing facilities are currently being used for productions such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Another Life.

Martini Film Studios

Exterior of a soundstage at Martini Film Studios at its existing facilities in Langley. (Martini Film Studios)

TBS’ new Snowpiercer dystopian thriller television series, also filmed at MFS, starring Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, will premiere in spring 2020, and it has already been renewed for a second season.

“It’s been an incredible experience. Space is in huge demand, and with the industry thriving and the growth potential for the film and television business across all of BC, we’re proud to expand our services for the sector,” continued Martini.

The growth of local production activity in recent years has far outpaced available studio space.

According to the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), the film and television industry’s total spending in BC more than doubled from $1.6 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion in 2018, making the province the third largest production centre in North America, just behind California and New York State. In 2017, the industry’s total payroll in BC totalled $2.06 billion.

 

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Based on Creative BC’s similar account of local industry activity, during the 2017-18 fiscal year there were 452 productions, including 289 productions by non-BC and foreign companies and 163 productions by BC-based creators.

“Vancouver is one of the world’s top film hubs, and continues to be a great draw for the international production community,” said David Shepheard, director of the VEC’s Vancouver Film Commission.

“It attracts billions of dollars of investment every year, and creates thousands of diverse jobs for the local community. Facilities such as Martini Film Studios help boost that reputation, and this new, state-of-the-art studio expansion is a much-needed addition to local production infrastructure.”

Prominent Vancouver-based producer Justis Greene, known for his work in TRON: LEGACY, Another LifeThe Order, and Bates Motel, added: “The Martini investment into stage expansion comes at a critical time — the Vancouver industry has never felt busier, or more crowded.”

“Although producers are practiced at stowing productions in unusual crannies, and at converting underused space, feature projects and series are known to make decisions hinging on whether there are suitable soundstages available to facilitate their show. If you don’t have the factory, you won’t get the product.”

For instance, prior to redevelopment construction, the old Canada Post building in downtown Vancouver was used as a make-shift studio space for largely Netflix and Amazon productions.

Martini Film Studios

Special effects during a film production inside a soundstage at Martini Film Studios. (Matthew Harrington / Martini Film Studios)

MFS’ new production hub at 216th Street will be the first new major purpose-built film and television production studio in Metro Vancouver in about two decades.

While a number of other major studio facilities have opened over the years, these have largely been accomplished as warehouse-to-studio converted facilities, such as the 2016-opened Skydance Studios in Surrey, which turned the former Kennedy Heights Printing Plant into 75,000 sq. ft. of production space, including five soundstages.

There is currently approximately 3.5 million sq. ft. of production space in the region, with older purpose-built facilities accounting for much of this space. Major purpose-built studios include:

  • Canadian Motion Picture Park in South Burnaby (350,000 sq. ft. total, including 18 soundstages)
  • Vancouver Film Studios in East Vancouver (approximately 350,000 sq. ft. total, including 12 soundstages)
  • Bridge Studios in Burnaby’s Brentwood Area (150,000 sq. ft. across 13 soundstages, not including supporting spaces)
  • North Shore Studios in North Vancouver District (152,000 sq. ft. total, including eight sound stages)

Local developer Larco owns Bridge Studios, previously a property of provincial crown corporation Pavco, while Bosa Development owns both North Shore Studios and the converted Mammoth Studios (261,000 sq. ft. across three soundstages) near Burnaby’s Forest Grove area.

The new MFS studio will also be larger than the plan to expand Pinewood Toronto Studios to 525,000 sq. ft., the under-construction, 400,000-sq-ft First Studio City Markham Movieland, and the new 260,000-sq-ft CBS Mississauga Studio.

Vancouver film studio map

Map of all purpose-built film production studios, and warehouse and conversion stages in Metro Vancouver. (Creative BC)

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