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New Film Studio Aims To Bolster Pittsburgh Film Industry And Struggling Borough

Deanna Garcia
90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh has gotten a lot of attention from Hollywood in recent years, with several high-profile films and television shows being shot here. With the help of a new film complex in McKees Rocks, the hope is that the industry will continue to expand.

“We announce the groundbreaking for the region’s first built, newly constructed, multi-stage complex for production of TV shows, commercials and feature films,” said Mike Dolan, president of Island Studios.

Officials with the Borough of McKees Rocks say this is a key piece of the area’s continued revitalization. The studio complex itself will have several amenities.

“Production office space, warehousing, mill shop for construction of sets, and some housing for out of town production entity people,” said Dolan.

When finished, the soundstage will be a 75,000 square foot facility and there will be some 40,000 square feet of office space. The construction is helped along with a $2.5 million state grant from the Economic Growth Initiative. Gov. Tom Corbett said investment in the film industry nets numerous economic benefits.

“Over the last few years, Pittsburgh really has experienced a renaissance in film production, leading to tremendous economic gains for the region in bringing more than a billion dollars to Pennsylvania’s economy and sustaining more than 14,500 jobs,” said Corbett.

Island Studios Dolan said, somewhat jokingly, that he’d like to see the complex completed in six months. The actual timeline for completion will likely be longer. And Dolan said the hope is that, once completed, it attracts some big Hollywood players back to the Steel City.

“Pittsburgh has become one of the hot spots for film production,” said Dolan. “We’ve had the likes of Lionsgate, Disney, Paramount, Fox, Dreamworks and many other major production companies and studios come here to partake in this great city.”

Deanna fell in love with public radio in 2001, when she landed her first job at an NPR station: KRWG-FM in Las Cruces, NM, where she also attended college. After graduating with a degree in journalism and mass communications, she spent a summer in Washington, D.C. as an intern at NPR's Morning Edition. Following that, she was a reporter/All Things Considered Host at WXXI in Rochester, NY. Before coming to Pittsburgh, Deanna was the local All Things Considered host for KUNC in northern Colorado. In her spare time, Deanna enjoys watching movies and TV shows on DVD (the Golden Girls and Little House on the Prairie are among her favorites), bicycling, yard work, and reading.