Aeon Studio Group building Hamilton’s new studio district

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Plans for Hamilton’s new studio district, a community centred around film, TV and digital media production, are taking shape.

It’s been over two years since Aeon Studio Group entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city and spokesperson Jeff Anders appeared before councillors on Wednesday saying they’ve “marshalled” about $20 million in investment towards their vision for the Barton-Tiffany lands.

night shot

Despite challenges related to the site, including soil contamination, Anders says Aeon remains convinced that its plan is “viable.”

“We don’t own this land, yet,” acknowledges Anders. “Needless to say, we’re moving in that direction.”

He adds that, “We expect to secure the necessary approvals to start construction on the least challenging parts of the site within two years, and on the most challenging parts of the site within five years.”

Architectural renderings released last week feature office space for creative industry companies, event spaces, artist live-work studios and an outdoor public plaza, described as the “beating heart” of the district.

The Studio District would be an economic cluster with studios for the production of film, television, gaming, animation and music. It would feature artist live-work spaces, office space for creative industry companies, industry event spaces including a theatre, and learning and training spaces to build the local workforce.

At the heart of the district Aeon plans to build an outdoor public plaza where the community can gather and experience local artists’ work, a farmer’s market, a restaurant patio, a skating rink, or a picnic on green space.

Over the next several months Aeon will host public town hall meetings, private meetings with stakeholders, and it will launch a dedicated website, all to collect ideas, unpack concerns and understand the various communities’ priorities, to help Aeon develop a robust plan for the site.

Aeon Bayfront Studios, located in its Hamilton Studio District mixed-use development, opened in February, the first step in Aeon’s mission to build Hamilton into an international hub for film, television and digital media production.

The site features:

  • 27,000 sq. ft. main stage with 50-foot ceilings and clear span
  • 40,000+ sq. ft. of additional production space of varying ceiling heights
  • 6,500+ sq. ft. of furnished office
  • Paint shop in an out-building with two paint booths
  • Approximately 4 acres of outdoor space, cleared and treed, suitable for backlot uses

There are only a few facilities in southern Ontario that can cater to productions requiring large clear span stages with high ceilings and significant outdoor space.

The studio is located across the street from the Barton Tiffany lands, where Aeon is planning to build the rest of the Hamilton Studio District, a Live-Work-Play hub for the creative industries that will feature studios, offices, retail and residential space.

“Aeon is excited to work with its West Harbour neighbours to continue to revitalize the area and make it an ever better place to live, work and play,” said Aeon partner Jeff Anders.

“Additional studio space of this significant size presents the opportunity for business growth and talent development for Hamilton’s film industry and other industries that benefit from film production spend, such as hospitality and accommodations, VFX, and construction.”


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