According to reports, Pinewood Toronto Studios is planning to build new homes around their sound stage studio complex, to mimic streetscapes of iconic North American neighbourhoods, including New York's Soho, Chicago’s Loop area and London's Charing Cross.
Rather than impose location shooting in quiet, Toronto neighbourhoods, coning off streets and re-directing traffic, Pinewood now plans to develop new residences for a 'living studio'.
The plan will be developed with HOK Planning Group, envisioning a mixed-use neighborhood with retail stores, hotel, condominiums and office space co-existing with the studio's eight sound stages, including the largest indoor sound stage in North America. The studio currently has soundstages and offices totalling 250,000 square feet, but developers plan to put 2.5 million square feet on the site.
The 13.5-hectare land parcel is currently bordered by Toronto's Don Roadway, Commissioners St., Bouchette St. and the existing shipping channel.
Plans include 1,000 condominiums, including four towers and two mid-rise buildings overlooking the shipping channel with an unobstructed view of Lake Ontario, a 180-room hotel, a public plaza at the corner of Commissioners St. and Don Roadway to create a 'gateway' to the studio and retail stores in the area of the hotel, including cafes and restaurants leading to a waterfront promenade.
"This is ultimately intended to be a 'go-ahead' plan, not a 'dream' plan," said Derek Ballantyne, chief operating officer of Build Toronto, a city-owned developer.
Pinewood Toronto Studios, was originally 'FilmPort' before a purchase in 2009 by Toronto Waterfront Studios Development Inc., a group of investors including Castlepoint, Conweb Corp., ROI Capital and BUILD Toronto.
According to BUILD Toronto, the new master plan was drawn to conform to requirements for the development of Toronto's port lands, reconnecting the area to the rest of the city.
Residents of the new film district will sign convenants, acknowledging they will be living in a 'unique community' that will be used as a film set, with private streets that can be closed at any time for shooting.
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