A stretch of South Rockwell Street was renamed in honor of the late Nick Mirkopoulos, visionary and founder of Cinespace Film Studios.
From Greece to Toronto
Nick Mirkopoulos was born in Kalohori, Kastoria, Greece in 1942. Seeking adventure and opportunity,” he made his way from Greece to Canada. There, he was a successful contractor before opening the first Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto, Canada in 1988. It was first large-scale film production studio facility in Canada, and remains the largest film studio in the country. He’d later develop three further studio complexes in Toronto including Marine Terminal 28, where Oscar best picture winner “Chicago” was filmed.
Eye on Chicago
In 2011, Mirkopoulos acquired the Ryerson Steel complex in Chicago, and orchestrated the redevelopment of the massive 50-acre industrial site into a bustling film production campus. Cinespace Chicago is a film studio that includes 22 stages and eight production office suites. Among the productions filmed at the studio, are TV shows like Empire, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire; and feature films such as Batman IV, and Divergent.
Cinespace Toronto and Cinespace Chicago make up the largest private studio in North America.
He built up a successful empire, and the fruits of his labor were shared among his philanthropic endeavors, including the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, DePaul University’s School of Cinema, the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv and the Ark of the World children’s charity of Greece, in addition to a number of hospitals.
Mirkopoulos had been battling a terminal illness, and went back to his birthplace to see family. He died there in 2013.
Immortalized in Chicago
The City of Chicago dedicated a stretch of South Rockwell Street which runs through the studio’s campus in honor of the late Cinescape founder. Deputy Mayor Steve Koch presided over the dedication, on October 22,2015.
“Nick Mirkopoulos had a vision for the film and TV production sector of the City of Chicago, and we owe him a great debt. So it is only fitting for our City to recognize Nick’s contributions today with this street dedication.” ~ Deputy Mayor Steve Koch
The Mirkopoulos Family, including nephew Alex Pissios, president of Cinescape, were on hand for the ceremony, along with former Gov. Pat Quinn, Deputy Mayor Steve Koch, Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th), Teamsters President of Joint Council 25 John T. Coli, IATSE local 476 Business Manager Mark A. Hogan, Lagunitas Brewing founder Tony Magee, production cast, crews and other leaders.
“My Uncle Nick saw the great potential of this property, but more importantly he saw the great potential of the people of Chicago – our talented and motivated film and television production crews, that were underutilized while working on only one or two projects a year. He had the vision to build out this studio capacity, and of course he had his legendary personality that attracted our friends and clients from Hollywood to Chicago more often, and helped take Illinois production volumes from $25 million a year in 2009 to over $350 Million in 2013. And we surpassed that number in 2014, and we will be surpassing it again in 2015,” ~ Cinespace President Alex Pissios