Don't see a thread for this. I am very pleased to see this building repurposed, I hope some of the handsome industrial features of the building are preserved.
Etobicoke plant to become film studio
GUY DIXON - Globe and Mail
Published on Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 12:00AM EST
Last updated on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009 3:07AM EST
A shuttered glass factory in Toronto could be home to Hollywood productions by early next year, if all goes according to plan for its new owners.
Cinespace Film Studios, which provides studio and office space for films shooting in Toronto, has bought the old Consumers Glass factory in the west end. The plant was more recently owned by glass bottle and container maker Owens-Illinois and closed last year, eliminating 400 jobs.
Cinespace president Steve Mirkopoulos described the acquisition of the abandoned, 12-hectare property as a "win-win scenario" for both the industry and Etobicoke, noting the spillover benefits that Cinespace's anchor studio on Booth Avenue have had in revitalizing the Leslieville neighbourhood.
When he first toured the abandoned plant, he noticed the hundreds of empty employee lockers.
"We felt sad when we visited the area where the lockers [were] of all the people who used to work there," he said. "But I can tell you: Two, three, four years down the road, we may have [as many] people working there in a different industry."
Mr. Mirkopoulos believes there is enough film work in Toronto for another large studio space, despite the recent and dramatic decrease in production caused by the economic slump.
With the arrival of the competing Filmport studios on Toronto's Port Lands and competition from other Canadian cities, the question is whether film and television production across the city has increased enough to support the new studio space. Cinespace's Booth Avenue facilities, however, are busy, with the horror films Resident Evil: Afterlife and Saw 7 currently filming there, along with the TV series Flashpoint, Overruled and Warehouse 13.
Mr. Mirkopoulos is optimistic.
"Some very important things happened in the last six months: The most important of which, our province of Ontario came up to the plate with the 25-per-cent tax credit [for productions]. That is very instrumental in our decision-making process. Business picked up immediately after and has remained strong."
The refurbishment of the factory will happen in stages. Office space will be available as soon as next month, but the overall renovation is expected to take two to three years.
Etobicoke all set for film boom
Cinespace to convert factory into new studio
Peter Kuitenbrouwer, National Post
Published: Thursday, December 17, 2009
Is Norseman Heights the next Leslieville?
Just maybe, now that Leslieville-based Cinespace Studios has bought the mammoth, 15-hectare Consumers Glass plant on Kipling Avenue, at the corner of Norseman Street just north of the Queen Elizabeth Way, to transform it into a film and television complex with up to 500,00 square feet of studio space.
Yesterday, Steve Mirkopoulos, president of Cinespace, had spring in his step as he took me for a tour of the giant old glass plant.
"The most desirable place to film is Leslieville," says Mr. Mirkopoulos, whose company developed and owns two film studios on Eastern Avenue. "We think Etobicoke is going to be the next best location."
Consumers Glass opened in 1955. At the height of production, 1,200 employees manned huge blast furnaces, melting sand into glass panes and glass bottles for everyone from Crown Royal to Captain Morgan. Owens-Illinois later owned the plant, and shut it down last year, putting 400 people out of work.
Tall cement elevators where the company stored sand stand here beside a curved roof which looks like a hat Frank Gehry designed for Lady Gaga; that was the exhaust manifold for the blast furnaces. Inside huge steel machinery fills the vastness. Beside lie piles of twisted pipes, railings, chains and big old rusted floor fans.
This is nothing to faze the Mirkopoulos clan, who turned Canada Metal, at 721 Eastern Ave., into a thriving studio; their main studio at 30 Booth St. used to be a vast hospital laundry facility. "This is our most ambitious project," says Mr. Mirkopoulos. "We have a lot more land here than we ever had in the east end."
A basement below the factory floor will allow Cinespace to outfit these studios with two tanks to film underwater scenes, he said, adding, "there is 30 times more power here than we had at 30 Booth."
Cinespace has had a rocky history with the City of Toronto: First the city terminated the company's lease on Marine Terminal 28 on Queens Quay, where Chicago was filmed. Then the city gave an exclusive lease in the municipally owned port lands to a competitor, Toronto Film Studios, for Filmport. Given that bad blood, it is nice to see the Mirkopoulos family still wants to invest in Toronto.
"We would rather buy our own land and be masters of our own destiny," says Mr. Mirkopoulos. "We are moving on."
Etobicoke is not a new place for the film business: William F. White International, which supplies film equipment, has had its headquarters on Islington Avenue at Norseman for 47 years. Deluxe Labs, a post-production house, is just across the QEW on Evans Avenue, near Dufferin Gate, a studio on Butterick Road.
"I think it makes a huge amount of sense," said Paul Bronfman, chief executive of William F. White, of Cinespace's move to Etobicoke yesterday, as he boarded a flight for Miami. "If the Mirkopoulos brothers say they're going to do something, they'll do it."
Mr. Bronfman is chairman of Pinewood Studios, who co-own the new Filmport studio in Toronto's port lands, but he said he does not see the new Consumers Glass studios as competition. "I view it as enhancing the attractiveness of Toronto for film production."
Filmmakers, like other artists, do have a reputation as shock troops of gentrification. Leslieville was a rundown area 20 years ago when the film studios arrived; today it is a destination, and houses in the ''Film District'' have doubled or tripled in value.
This part of Etobicoke certainly feels a little low-rent, or at least light-industrial: even the strip clubs have closed on Kipling. For lunch I went to Bun Master Bakery, which is no Mercury Espresso Bar; every customer wore overalls. One patron has a part-time job installing granite countertops, and another works at the Hydro One transformer station across the road.
Councillor Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) noted the area is already changing, with the city reworking Kipling subway station, just a kilo-metre north, and reconfiguring the Six Points traffic interchange to get rid of ramps.
"People were worried when the plant closed last year," he said. "You never know whether some big-box retailer might come in. It's fabulous news that it's going to be a value-added employment use."
All I am saying is, it may be time to buy a house in Norseman Heights, just east of the old factory. The espresso bars are coming.