“Lights, camera, action!” Not words many people think of when it comes to industrial real estate, except, as a project tour of Kearny Point during I.CON East in Jersey City, New Jersey, made clear, maybe they should.
With many people dramatically increasing their time at home over the past two years, content demand, on any and all platforms, has exploded. Following last year’s shutdowns, production studios buckled down and got back to work. Many production companies and content creators have found a home at Kearny Point in Kearny, New Jersey.
Kearny Point, a 130-acre site developed by Hugo Neu, was once a shipyard that built ships for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Now, this innovative adaptive reuse project calls itself “home to makers and innovators.” It’s situated in an industrial zone between two of the most densely populated cities in New Jersey, providing easy access to good talent.
Kearny Point offers everything from small offices to warehouses large enough to fit show sets. The site incorporates a wide range of uses: flexible office space, mixed-use industrial space, urban farming and regenerative landscapes, outdoor community/entertainment spaces, wetland restoration, environmental infrastructure and more. The architecture blends historic features from the original shipyard with sleek, modern design and pops of vibrant color.
YouTube star Marques Brownlee – known professionally as MKBHD – has studio space at Kearny Point to produce videos for the more than 15 million followers of his tech-focused channels. So do 20th Century Fox and Hulu. Kearny Point’s Building 78 provides private workspace with communal facilities like conference rooms and kitchenettes; tenants handle their own tenant improvements to customize their space exactly as they want it.
Ample parking is a major perk for many tenants, as it is in many parts of New York and New Jersey, and Kearny Point has 32,000 square feet of parking available. Another critical need is large mail room/shipping center to efficiently process the high volume of e-commerce deliveries that come through.
In Building 82 of the property, 20th Century Fox transformed an ‘80s warehouse full of boxes and racks into a modern studio set that recently hosted the second season of the Emmy-nominated Hulu show “Wu-Tang: An American Saga.” The heating system tubes running across the ceilings are now used for air filtration systems to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. Three narrow columns in each space provide enough support for the building while allowing enough space to build large sets without obstructions. Larger space can secure larger jobs due to the increased space demands. Hinged ceilings above each set enable fire safety systems to operate in case of emergency.
In another building at Kearny Point, Eastern Effects has worked to build the optimal location for soundproof sets, insulating the walls and doors with K-13 acoustical insulation that makes entering the space feel like entering a submarine. No air or sound can pass through, by design. A specially designed air conditioning system operates silently in order to not obstruct the show production in any way. Easter Effects provides equipment rentals for studios, so they have everything they need in one place. The pilot episode of the Amazon show “Shelter,” based on the first novel in a book series by Harlan Coben, was filmed in this location; the show is produced by Amazon Studios and MGM International Television Productions.
Trying to beat the curve of the next industrial real estate trend? In New Jersey, creative thinking has led to creative use of industrial space. Consult the (content) stars to predict what’s next.
Featured photo from Kearny Point.
Marie Ruff is Communications Senior Manager at NAIOP.