The cornerstone of the Chicago television and movie production industry is changing hands.
TPG Real Estate Partners has acquired the studio campuses of Cinespace Studios in Chicago and Toronto — combined the second largest independent sound stage platform in North America. The deal is scheduled to close today and is to be formally unveiled on Monday, according to multiple sources.
As for the future of Cinespace owner Alex Pissios and his fellow family members that founded the franchise, the Pissios family will no longer will be involved in active management of the company, with TPG bringing in its own team. That being said, TPG is expected to keep Cinespace in Chicago and is interested in expanding beyond the 55 active soundstages it now operates at two campuses at the old Ryerson Steel distribution facility at 2621 W. 15th Place and at 31st St. and Kedzie Ave., according to Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business.
As for the timeline of Alex Pissios’ exit, sources tell SCREEN he might remain involved with Cinespace over the next six to twelve months to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, but those details are expected to be clarified in the days ahead.
So who is the new leadership? So far, it has been announced by Deadline that Eoin Egan, former head of production services at Netflix, will join Cinespace as COO.
Looking back at the Pissios Family’s Tremendous Success in Chicago
Pissios is best known for luring legendary TV producer Dick Wolf of “Law & Order” fame here, with Wolf using Cinespace to shoot NBC shows Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. Cinespace Chicago opened in 2010 and currently operates 33 stages, with an additional 15 stages undergoing development or conversion on more than 60 acres. Illinois has a 30% tax credit that runs through 2026. In addition to Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Chicago Med, Fox former ratings king Empire, the last season of Fargo with Chris Rock, and a slew of new shows have called Cinespace their production home.
Here is a recent interview with Alex to give you more insight into his family’s journey with Cinespace Chicago:
Meanwhile, Cinespace Toronto is a Netflix production hub for shows like the Umbrella Academy. It is also the home of The Handmaid’s Tale and upcoming film Nightmare Alley.
Illinois and Chicago Leaders Chime In
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declared to Deadline the state “is proud to welcome TPG’s investment in Cinespace and Illinois’ booming film industry. Expanding the state’s capacity for television and media production will create opportunities for countless Illinoisans — including the job training and apprenticeship programs that have been hallmarks of Cinespace’s efforts.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Deadline she is “thrilled to see this acquisition expand our capability for content creation and look forward to the jobs and productions it will bring to our region.”
Pissios declined all comment on the transaction. His future plans are not known but announcements are expected in the weeks, if not days, ahead.
TPG already has an ownership interest in STX Entertainment, Univision, Vice and Creative Artist Agency, a prominent Hollywood talent firm. The firm has been expanding its entertainment involvement, and may seek to take the Cinespace name global, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.