Ottawa moving ahead with plans for Canadian capital's first major studio

The Ottawa Film Office has issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) for the three-soundstage studio development

By Jeremy Kay 12 Mar 2024

Ottawa moving ahead with plans for Canadian capital's first major studio
Courtesy of Sandrine Pechels De Saint Sardos

Ottawa Film Office (OFO) is moving ahead on plans to build the first major studio facility in the Canadian capital city as the region seeks to respond to the rising demands of streamers and boost film and television production.

The proposal is in early stages and OFO envisions the facility will span 60,000 to 80,000 sq ft and house three 20,000 sq ft stages, according to Jeff Westeinde, a partner at THEIA Partners and chair of the OFO’s soundstage subcommittee.

Approximately 22 acres of land 20 minutes from the Ottawa International Airport and downtown Ottawa have been leased from the National Capital Commission for the development. The project’s financial structure was approved by the City of Ottawa in 2019.

OFO said on Tuesday it has issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) prepared by local consulting agency GBA, which invites developers and operators to outline their track record in project management and audiovisual industry experience, and outline financial investment expectations and a suggested financing strategy.

OFO said the RFEOI is not regarded as a Request for Proposals (RFP) and is instead a platform to solicit feedback and identify potential partners. OFO’s soundstage subcommittee will review the submissions and eventually decide on partners.

Ottawa Film Commissioner Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos (pictured) said, “Ottawa’s film industry is growing, contributing $120million [C$] annually. Despite global challenges in 2023, the city successfully completed over 40 productions, and we predict 2024 would be a record year.”

Ottawa is positioned between Montreal and Toronto and is a short flight from New York. The city benefits from the province of Ontario’s fully refundable tax credits, aligned with federal tax credits, including a 21.5% credit for international productions.

For eligible Ontario productions there is a 35% credit, with an additional 10% bonus for filming in Ottawa. First-time producers get added support through an increased credit rate of 40% on the initial C$240,000 of qualifying labour expenses.

Animation projects that generate at least 85% of key animation outside the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario also qualify for the regional bonus.

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