Carteret scores blockbuster hit with $4.7M film studio grant from New Jersey Economic Development Authority

Largest of five grants awarded throughout state,
funds will create public access and utility infrastructure on former brownfield site


CARTERET, NJ – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board recently approved $4.7 million, Mayor Daniel J. Reiman announced. The $1 billion 10-acre waterfront redevelopment project includes a 1.2 million-square-foot movie production studio complex.

Five grants were awarded throughout the state as part of NJEDA’s Film and Digital Media Studio Infrastructure Program totaling $9.5 million. Nearly half of the funds went to Carteret to construct public access to a former brownfield site, as well as utility infrastructure for the dozen 20,000-square-foot sound stages, post-production facility and studio offices Bezzone Inc. is developing.


“The Carteret Stages film studio project will be an absolute game changer for Carteret and the redevelopment of the brownfield site,” Mayor Reiman said. “We are extremely grateful to Gov. Murphy, NJEDA and its executive team led by Tim Sullivan, for this vital financial support in building Carteret Stages. This and many other approved and envisioned projects will transform the waterfront into a regional destination and will coincide with our forthcoming ferry service.”


Previously Gov. Phil Murphy stated, “Following my reinstatement of the Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program and game-changing investments in our rapidly expanding film and television industries, production has exploded in the past four years as more people learn what New Jersey has to offer. This huge growth has fueled thousands of jobs for New Jersey residents, while providing economic benefit to our towns and cities.”


Sullivan added, “Under Governor Phil Murphy’s leadership, film production in New Jersey has increased thanks to resources like the Film & Digital Media Tax Credit, which has created good-paying jobs, strengthened our economy, and attracted film studios and production companies to the Garden State. The funding announced this week will allow municipalities to make important infrastructure improvements to support studio construction, furthering New Jersey’s leadership in film and television.”


Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, “I’m so pleased to see this strategic investment in Carteret’s future by the EDA. The borough is poised to capitalize on the rebirth of the New Jersey film and media industry. This grant will provide valuable resources to update and expand vital infrastructure that will spur economic growth and add to the already-rich cultural landscape in the region.”


Project developer Joe Bezzone added, “The film industry began in New Jersey with motion picture camera and viewer inventor Thomas Edison’s Black Maria Studio before the industry moved out to Hollywood, so it’s great that the state government is so supportive.”


The access roads, Waterfront Boulevard and Lighthouse Way, will permit access through the site to the parking lot and parking structure of Carteret Stages, as well as numerous developments planned for the vacant lot where the studio will be constructed. Future attractions connected or in proximity to the Carteret Stages will include a hotel, restaurants, retail, and the Carteret Intermodal Transportation Building, the bustling hub of the Borough’s forthcoming ferry service.


“The construction of the infrastructure needed to support the Carteret Studios, as well as the construction of the facility itself, will be a significant undertaking and will create a significant number of union construction-related jobs and permanent positions within the film and television studio,” Mayor Reiman said. “These high-paying jobs have the potential to drastically increase the quality of life for residents within Carteret and across Middlesex County.”


The construction of Carteret Stages is expected to create about 500 construction-related jobs and 2,500 permanent film production and studio operation jobs within the Borough, Bezzone said. Permanent jobs will include stagehands, production and sound designers, film crews, as well as facility support staff, he said.


These job opportunities will not only attract new residents and commuters to Carteret but will also support employment within the local community, the developer said.


“Carteret’s investment in its waterfront under the bold leadership of Mayor Dan Reiman has created an engine of opportunity,” Bezzone said. “Any productive dialogue between developer and municipality is an attempt to balance the scale of public-private interaction that always benefits the community and its stakeholders.”


Carteret Stages has received site plan approval from the Carteret Planning Board and the proposed project site plans are shovel ready, Mayor Reiman said.


The Film and Digital Media Studio Infrastructure Program supports strategic economic development investments in the film and digital media industry. The program provides grant funding to municipalities, counties, and state entities for infrastructure improvements and site work in support of the development of a film or digital media studio production facility.


By investing in infrastructure projects that support New Jersey’s growing film and digital media sector, the Film and Digital Media Studio Infrastructure Program will foster additional productions in the state, drive job creation, and further New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness, NJEDA said. The projects funded through this program will support the creation of a film or digital media studio, as well as provide community and regional economic impact and benefits, the agency said.


A scoring committee of NJEDA staff composed of experts in real estate development was established to review and evaluate all eligible applications against the following criteria:

  • Applicant readiness to proceed
  • Project merits for community and regional economic impact and benefits as catalyst for and connection to local development
  • Project feasibility
  • Applicant (and contractor/consultant) experience and capacity
  • Small, women, minority, veteran-owned business or enterprise participation.


The other grant recipients are Jersey City, Egg Harbor City, and East Brunswick.


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