Two California-based companies have been selected by the city to develop and operate a new $250 million film, television and digital media hub along Toronto’s waterfront.
Mayor John Tory announced Tuesday that Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group had the winning bid to develop the Basin Media Hub, an 8.9-acre property on Basin Street in the Port Lands that is owned by the City of Toronto.
The hub, the city says, will include eight sound stages, production office space, as well as workshop and production support space. A public promenade is also expected to be developed along the water’s edge to “further transform this area of the Port Lands into a healthier and more liveable space for workers and visitors alike,” the city said.
“This will help us dramatically to increase capacity in this sector to create more jobs, to create more training opportunities,” Tory told reporters on Tuesday.
Officials added that the hub is expected to create 750 on-site jobs in addition to 880 indirect jobs in the broader community.
“After completion of the construction phase, the expected economic impact of ongoing film studio operations includes $280 million in economic activity, $119 million in net contribution to GDP and $32 million in tax revenues across all levels of government,” the city said in a news release.
When asked why a Canadian company wasn’t selected as the winning bidder, CreateTO CEO Steven Trumper said they are confident it will be a “Canadian-focused operation” as commitments have been made to include Canadian talent and a $1M fund will be set up to “support and encourage Canadian content creation.”
Tory said while there were a number of strong bids from both Canadian and foreign companies, ultimately the two U.S. companies had the most attractive offer.
“(Hackman Capital Partners) is a globally respected business… they are in the film and studio businesses as proprietors all over the world,” he said.
“I celebrate the fact that a globally recognized company has come to invest their money in the city.”
As part of the investment, the city said, MBS Group will provide a $1 million endowment for a local training program and funding for a program coordinator.
“I don’t think for a second that people should underestimate the importance of the film, television and digital production business in Toronto. It not only represents thousands and thousands of jobs, but I think reputationally it is very important to the city,” Tory said.
“It puts us on the map because there are productions that are done here of very well-known television and film properties but also in many cases now they are actually letting Toronto be Toronto in some of those productions so that over time, as people see the beauty and the quality of life in this city, will be very important.”