According to a report in the Toronto Star newspaper, the proposal calls for five studios with a combined area of 100,000 square feet to be built in lands not far from the city's downtown core with a target opening date toward the end of 2008. Neither Pinewood nor Castlepoint would confirm the story for the paper.
If the project comes to fruitition, Toronto's purpose-built production infrastructure will expand dramatically. Despite its production track record, the city has long been faulted for its dearth of professional-grade facilities. Production in the city was down more than 20% in 2006 from 2005 - to $615m from about $790m. The strength of the Canadian dollar vis a vis the US dollar is seen as the principal cause for the decline. Still, observers are taking heart in the decision by Marvel Studios to shoot is $100m plus The Incredible Hulk in the city this summer.
According to the Star report, the new Pinewood project does not include a mega-stage, the 40,000 square-foot clear-span space seen as the prerequisite for entry into the mega-studio club. The winning bid in the 2005 competition, Toronto Film Studio's FilmPort, which will include a mega-stage, is under construction and is expected to open early in 2008.
Castlepoint closed a deal for the land last week however the city will conduct a site plan review before it gives a green light to any such project.