Toronto film producer has big plans for Sault’s CTV building

Justin L.Levine suggests adding a floor or two above the former TV station at 119 East St.

Later this week, ownership of a downtown Sault landmark will be handed over to the Hollywood/Toronto film producer with older plans for the 118-year-old CTV building.

SooToday has learned that Justin L. Levine, who has produced or has 17 films currently in development, will acquire the former TV station at 119 East Street on Friday, August 5.

Party-loving and fun-loving Levine wants to add up to two floors above the existing building, plus a rooftop patio (see gallery of 15 photos above).

CTV/Bell Media will continue to lease the broadcast tower.

Levine’s plan, as described in his presentation, is to create “a comprehensive studio full of resources tailored to the film and television industry: film studio, equipment, trailers, vehicles, decorations, prop houses, wardrobe supplies, etc.”

He implements the ambitious project with the help of a pair of Sault moviegoers and a former star of the famous ABC. Full house Comedy series.

The café is open to the public

“The plan is simple,” says Levine.

“Office space, studio space, production companies, and individual film professionals working together under one roof to create, collaborate, and grow.”

All that, plus a café that’s open to anyone wanting to get in, and who knows, maybe it gets caught up by the filmmaking genres?

“Everything is signed. Everything is ready to close,” Levine tells SooToday, referring to Friday’s closing date.

Levine describes his Sault venture as a kind of WeWork for the entertainment sector, referring controversially to the controversial global co-working giant that was cast in this year’s Apple TV+ drama series WeCrashed, starring Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto.

“It’s kind of like WeWork, but just a very small version of that, in the same business,” he says.

Former home of Bell Canada

says James Kaiko, a Century 21 realtor who has worked for Levine and Stardust Pictures Inc. On the purchase of the historic building, which was originally home to Sault’s Bell telephone offices prior to CJIC: “The East Street property is a one-of-a-kind building with tremendous potential.” Television began operating there in November 1955.

“I think he found the right buyer in Justin,” Kaiko says.

“Justin’s intended use of the building is very complementary to our city’s emerging film industry.”

“Justin has a very good network in the film industry, but he also has a large real estate portfolio. His real estate experience will only help when he is looking to cash in on the property,” says Kaiko.

Bought Invisible Scene

The sale price for the East Street location was not disclosed, but Levine says he purchased the unseen venue and paid “significantly less” than the asking price of $450,000.

“It’s funny to hear I buy this at Sault and I haven’t been there,” he says. “That’s probably the best part of the whole story.” “A Toronto film developer who’s never been here before is buying a historic building.”

This unexpected vision developed after Levine worked on the 2021 Christmas movie, christmas messagewith Trish Rainone and Rebeka Herron of 180 Sisterhood Productions based in Salt.

“It’s always been my dream to have a studio,” he explains.

“The opportunity arose. You know what? Why not? Especially since we shot christmas message There last year with [Sisterhood] girls.”

“I know how they managed it, how it went and how things could go better.”

Levine, Rainone and Herron now have three films in pre-production, and the 180 Sisterhood is expected to play a key role in managing Sault’s newest studio facility.

full house star

Another important player in the East Street operation, Levine says, will be David Lieber, the actor, producer and director best known for playing Viper on the popular ABC sitcom. Full house (1987-1995).

Viper ended up with DJ Tanner during the final season when the DJ broke up with boyfriend Steve.

Lieber reprized his role in Viper Fuller Housethat lasted from 2016 to 2020.

He has had a busy career in film and television, including numerous appearances on Levine’s projects.

Lieber won’t move to Sault, but Levine says he’ll be involved more often at 119 East St.

Post office company

Levin himself was busy, too.

The main office of Stardust Pictures Inc. , according to federal corporate registry records, in a mailbox at the UPS store on Pleasant Boulevard in Toronto.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) shows that the 16-year-old company produces an average of one movie per year, including some comedians starring Harland Williams, Polly Shore and Jimmy Kennedy; And the Wolf Mountaina horror film with Danny Trejo, currently in post-production.

Levine spoke about his early years working in Toronto, on a 2010 episode of Bravo’s reality TV show Millionaire Matchmaker.

At the time this program was being prepared, recently arrived in Hollywood, Levine is a 40-year-old Canadian who dreams of furthering his career in the film industry.

The famous show was built around Patti Stanger, the owner of the Beverly Hills Millionaire Club, who tried to find compatible dates for the Canadian newcomer.

Baby Trust Fund?

Bravo painted Levine as a “Trust Child” with his net worth at the time between $9 million and $12 million.

“How did you get your fortune?” Stanger asked him.

Levine replied, “The truth is, at the age of 25, my birthday present, my father gave me a set of buildings. He said, ‘This is the beginning of your life and I’ll see you later.'”

“Do you think you have delayed adolescence?” Stanger asked.

“No,” said Levine. But everyone who has known me for 20 years says, ‘What does Justin look like now? ” The same.”

“I’m 30 plus 10 and I’m still 20”

“My friends describe me as a little crazy and super fun.”

“I didn’t grow up. I really don’t want to.”

My goal is to be Charlie Chaplin

Levine told Stanger that his family background is in real estate, and that he makes real estate deals to fund his film projects.

“I am a film producer as well as a real estate entrepreneur.”

“My goal is like the old studio system. To be Charlie Chaplin.”

“I’m still that boy inside.”

When asked by SooToday what he’s learned in the 12 years since participating on the reality TV show, Levine replied that it was a “fake” show, “as everyone knows.”

“It was a daring and a joke way back in the day…it was only then that I got to Los Angeles for the first time.” SooToday says.

“It has less than zero impact on any relationship with the company, the studio, or me.”

tax credits

Levine is registering a new corporate entity for the Sault Production Center, which will be known as Stardust Pictures Studios.

“A new facility that everyone can use, everyone can go to, and take advantage of the tax credits,” he says.

The main selling point would be the studio’s proximity to the US border, providing maximum comfort for American movie stars.

“I think it would be the closest studio to America. I don’t think Windsor has one. Even if they did, it wouldn’t be any closer.”

“My marketing campaign is simply to tell American stars they can fly into America….walk across the border, or ride a horse. Make it fun,” he says with a laugh.

“Fly them on a private plane, across America, and that would be cheaper. Kinda markets it that way, so the studio is more accessible than any other studio for Americans.”

‘About a million dollars spent’

If the price paid for the old television station was a mystery, then the cost of the renovations indicated in his architectural designs, as well as the number of jobs he intends to create in exchange for government financial support.

“Who knows how much the editorial group will cost? $300,000 for the editorial group alone? I don’t know,” he told SooToday.

“For now, I’m going to slap the facade and make it glow. Get spotlights on the place and make it glow.”

“But in the end… it will be a serious building.”

“By the time that’s done, you’re talking about spending a seven-figure to get that show going and keep going. It’s spending a million dollars, at least, to start that show.”

“Give or take the math, if you want to print a number, you can just say roughly a million dollars have been spent. I won’t say what’s included or not, I’ll just say that’s what number.”

“To create what I’m going to do, it usually costs a lot of money in Toronto.”

Helping the town grow

But Levine wants to make us proud.

“I just want to make this thing an amazing downtown building. Almost a major.”

“I want to be part of the community and help the community grow and help the city grow.”

Hints of Levine’s ancient aspirations, the studio system, and Chaplinesque aspirations can be found in the description of the proposed film he wrote entitled Hollywood robbery:

“In an effort to get endorsement, the third richest man in the world decided to make the most expensive epic movie in history with a billion dollar budget starring the largest A-class team ever assembled.”

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