MAKIN' IT IN MOVIES Mogul tells all about navy yard studio
Now that future movie mogul Lou Madigan is five months from breaking ground for his 15-acre film studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he's spilling all the beans. And, boy, did the crowd eat it up. In a talk that could have been titled "How to Become a Brooklyn Movie Studio CEO Without Getting Your Legs Broken," Madigan told a laughing, clapping crowd of 130 people yesterday about the four-year ordeal he and his partner, Cary Dean Hart, went through trying to secure financing to build New York Studios. The talk was part of the Brooklyn Public Library's "Made in Brooklyn" power breakfast series about filmmaking in the borough. Madigan, who was joined by Marc Rosenbaum, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., and Marco Ursino, director of the Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival, told hysterical anecdotes about the wacky world of the movies. When discussing why the multimillion-dollar deal between Madigan and actor Robert De Niro's company, TriBeCa Films - and De Niro's investment partner, Vornado Realty Trust - broke down, Madigan put it simply. "I didn't like De Niro's partner," he said. As to how he was able to close his $90 million financing deal with Steiner Equities so quickly, Madigan quoted his new moneyman, Douglas Steiner, as telling him: " 'Cause it would be great to beat Vornado on a real estate deal.
' " And when a construction union representative made bigoted remarks about African-Americans to Madigan, it merely made the mogul-to-be more committed to ensuring that minority-owned companies got their fair chance at building the studio. Half of his consultants are minority-owned businesses. As for employment opportunities for Brooklyn residents? "Half our of workforce will be local hires," said Madigan, who said committing to local hiring is a stipulation of his $130 million, 40-year lease. New York Studios, which will begin construction in January, is expected to open its doors by spring 2002. The studios will feature 11 sound stages ranging in size from 12,000 to 50,000 square feet. Average daily rental is expected to be $30 per square foot. "If anyone tells you it cannot be done, don't believe it," Madigan said. "We went from being guys with a really dumb idea to guys who were standing in the way of [Robert De Niro.]" The next power breakfast talk, featuring Randy Ostrow of USA Films and Patrick Pleven of the mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, is scheduled for Sept. 20 at 8:30 a.m. at the Business Library branch at 280 Cadman Plaza West, near Borough Hall.