Cuomo, Mahoney announce new film production house in DeWitt

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – New York and Onondaga County will invest in a new film house that will mix nanotechnology and the film industry with the hopes of starting up new businesses, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced Tuesday night.

The Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries would be the country’s first nano film school, to provide education and training to the movie industry workforce in Upstate New York. It would teach computer-generated imagery and motion technologies.

It will be led by the College of Nanoscience and Engineering, called CNSE.

The county and the state would invest money and the county would offer a low-interest loan. The county’s contribution has already been made – a $1.4 million investment in site work on the property.The state would invest $15 million through CNSE.

Onondaga County would start its own film commission with its own commissioner.

The announcement was made by Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO, who was a young student when Mario Cuomo was governor.

A hub would be built for the film industry and post-production companies on vacant industrial land in DeWitt. The property is owned by COR Development on Collamer Road near the 481 exit.

It would be a new 52,000 square foot building. Construction would begin April 1. It should be finished by October. Then, work would begin on a second phase – another 52,000 square foot building to be finished in early 2015.

The first anchor tenant will be a film company called the Film House.

The Film House has offices in New York and Los Angeles. It was formed in 2013 by Ryan Johnson, who spoke to the crowd gathered for Mahoney’s State of the County address Tuesday.

The Film House will move its California headquarters, production, post-production and distribution operations to Syracuse. He said he expected to produce three films this year.

There would be a private investment of $150 million, officials said. It would create 350 high-tech jobs and hundreds of construction jobs, they said.

The hub would be open to all kinds of film industries, not just those involved in nanotechnology. A Cuomo press release said the park would be open to research and development, manufacturing and office space.

Business that locate at the hub will be able to take advantage of the new StartUp NY program, which erases all taxes for 10 years. Businesses will also be eligible for tax breaks for the film industry, which is a credit of 40 percent of qualified costs in Upstate New York.

“Hollywood comes to Onondaga,” Cuomo said. “Who would have ever guessed?”