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Attention Entertainment/Film/Business/City Editors:

Toronto Film Studios begins construction of FILMPORT film/media complex

    Phase 1 Complex to be ready for film production by early 2008

    FILMPORT will be the new business community in Toronto's Port Lands

    TORONTO, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - Toronto Film Studios Inc. (TFS) announced it has
begun construction of FILMPORT, the new film and media business district
located in the city's Port Lands. Last fall, TFS signed a 99-year ground lease
agreement with Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) and has since
been completing detailed plans and specifications for the Phase 1 studio
complex.
    The Phase 1 Complex will form the nucleus of a studio lot that will
expand in time to over 550,000 sf of sound stages and support facilities for
the production of television and feature films. Phase 1 will comprise seven
sound stages including the Mega-Stage that will be the world's largest,
purpose-built sound stage. At over 45,000 sf, this state-of-the-art stage will
have 60 ft. of clear height and a floor space 180 ft. wide by 250 ft. long
(over an acre in area) - entirely without columns. It will be large enough to
house a full-sized replica of the Parthenon.
    "We are exceeding our Phase 1 obligations under the ground lease," said
TFS president Ken Ferguson. "We will be building one additional sound stage
and increasing the overall size of the first phase to 260,000 sf from the
lease commitment of 232,500 sf. We have also increased the size of the
Mega-Stage so that Toronto can lay claim to the largest purpose-built sound
stage in the world. This stage will attract blockbuster feature films costing 
  $100 million or more, like Spiderman III or Die Hard IV," Ferguson added.
    TFS today also released new images of the Phase 1 Complex revealing a
multi-toned glass office structure facing Commissioners Street and wrapping
three of the sound stages. This building will accommodate production offices
within its warm amber facade. The Mega-Stage will also face Commissioners
Street with its distinctive, barrel-vaulted roofline and steel buttresses
complemented by a water feature and landscaped piazza. The Mega-Stage will be
a signature landmark in the Port Lands and will give FILMPORT instant
worldwide recognition.

    FILMPORT is the result of an open, world-wide proposal call by TEDCO,
intended to spur rejuvenation of the Port Lands by developing a convergence
district of film and media companies and stimulating knowledge-based jobs.
With the Phase 1 Complex underway, TFS will begin to intensify planning of the
office buildings and industrial space that will accommodate film producers,
equipment suppliers and related companies that make their living in the media
and entertainment sectors. TFS is already working with noted architect Will
Alsop on the first series of buildings to be located outside the gated studio
lot.
    While Ferguson had hoped to start construction earlier this summer, TFS
has met the deadline stipulated under the ground lease. "Development of a
major film studio is a very complicated undertaking," he said. "The land lease
adds yet another level of complexity to conventional project financing. With
construction now underway, we expect completion in early 2008, although
several of the sound stages and carpentry shops will be ready for use in late
2007," added Ferguson.
    Over the course of development, FILMPORT will create 2,000 person-years
of employment in the construction, manufacturing and service sectors. When
completed, the complex is expected to annually induce direct and indirect
economic impacts of over $600 million in Ontario, and support employment of
2,000 persons on the studio lot and many more in the surrounding commercial
buildings. The studio complex will also generate $4.3 million of additional
property taxes for the city.

    Toronto Film Studios Inc. is already Canada's largest film studio
operator, currently managing 360,000 sf of facilities in and directly north of
the Port Lands. TFS has hosted many of the city's largest feature film
productions including David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, Ron Howard's
Cinderella Man and The Sentinel starring Kiefer Sutherland and Michael
Douglas.


For further information: David Eisenstadt, Beth Merrick, Rhoda
Eisenstadt, The Communications Group Inc., (416) 696-9900,
deisenstadt@tcgpr.com, bmerrick@tcgpr.com, reisenstadt@tcgpr.com; Ken
Ferguson, Toronto Film Studios, (416) 406-1235, Ken@tfstudios.ca

Photo

Internal view of Phase 1 Complex. (CNW Group/Toronto Film Studios Inc.)

Photo

Phase 1 Complex as seen from Commissioners Street. (CNW Group/Toronto Film Studios Inc.)


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