UK-Based Great Point Capital Plans To Build Major Production Facility In Buffalo

Great Point Capital Management, the UK-based, media-focused investment fund run by Robert Halmi and Fehmi Zeko, plans to build a $50 million-plus film and television studio complex in Buffalo, NY.

The firm earlier this year signed a deal with Rich Holdings to buy a site where two 20,000-square-foot stages and another 70,000 square feet of office and support space will be built. The studio will be built in two phases, with construction on Phase 1 slated to start in September with projected completion in the fall of 2021.

Buffalo Studios is the third production backed by Great Point to enter the pipeline, all of them in New York state. Construction on its Lionsgate Studios in Yonkers and Hudson Studios in Tarrytown has resumed after a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19.

Western New York has just entered the final phase of New York state’s reopening plan. Like other parts of the state, Buffalo is aiming to market itself as a film destination able to deliver value to producers through New York’s tax incentive program.

Film and TV producers have long benefited from a 30% tax incentive offered by New York state. In 2016, several counties outside New York City, including Buffalo’s Erie County, added an additional 10%, which currently is split between shooting and post-production.

“Buffalo is an ideal city for a state-of-the-art film and television complex,” Zeko said. “A combination of great locations, well-trained crew and tremendous support from local government, has made Buffalo a desirable destination for filmmakers.  With the addition of the studio, Buffalo will see year-round activity.” 

Rich Holdings is an investment partner in the project. Bill Gisel, the firm’s executive vice chair, said the new facility “will provide an immeasurable boost to filmmaking and television production in Buffalo, and we are thrilled that our West Side Promise Neighborhood will be at the center of it.”

Larry Quinn, a longtime local developer and former CEO of the Buffalo Sabres, will be coordinating and supervising all aspects of the project for Great Point. Local architecture firm Architectural Resources is designing the studio, with Krog Corporation acting as construction manager and builder.

“Buffalo continues to emerge as a film-friendly city and the building of a major film and television studio complex, here in our community, is a game-changer for our community,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “This $50-plus million investment means new employment opportunities for City residents and more business for those around the City who support Buffalo’s thriving film sector.”

Great Point Media Group, which is owned by Jim Reeve and Robert Halmi, will advise on the project. Halmi, a former executive at companies including the Hallmark Channel, which he founded, will be an investor.

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