Alex Pissios and his uncle Nick Mirkopoulos founded Cinespace Chicago Film Studios in 2011. Mirkopoulos and Pissios acquired 60 acres of the former Ryerson Steel property in North Lawndale and developed the region’s most prominent independent film studio. The 70-acre complex has also hosted over 40 major television and film productions. Alex Pissios, a businessman on the North and West Sides, lost it all in the 2000s property crash, owing to lenders $13 million. He was just 35 years old, his career had ended, and his buddies had deserted him. Pissios spent his days changing diapers and delivering his children to school alongside his spouse, a dental hygienist. Then his cousin, Nick Mirkopoulos, arrived. “Uncle” Nick was a successful builder and developer for many years. In 1990, he founded Cinespace Film Studios, a vast film production facility in Canada. Mirkopoulos had learned about Pissios’ plight and had come to assist. He entrusted the duty to his discouraged nephew: Cinespace required a 100,000-square-foot facility in Chicago large enough to house three soundstages.
Chicago filming has a turbulent past. But neighboring states started offering substantial tax advantages to industrial companies. Manufacturing costs up to $100,000 received a 30% Illinois tax credit in 2008. “Skin in the game” is a factor in three failed soundstage bids. “Cinespace came in with purpose — plus money,” he adds. Capacity to explore and do cooperation with Toronto studios and producers. Alex Pissios encounters Oscar winner Christian Bale just at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios Paramount soon agreed to film Transformers 3 at Cinespace Chicago. In 2012, he landed Boss on Starz and Chicago Fire on NBC. A second Ryerson warehouse will be acquired because of this funding. Lagunitas Brewing Company is located in a facility south of the studio lot, accessible from 17th Street.
Thanks to Pissios, Cinespace is fully operational. Through his community participation and commitment to giving back, Alex Pissios has aided in developing Chicago’s film industry. There are now 36 soundstages in the complex. In the December 2019 edition of Chicago Magazine, Pissios and Cinespace Chicago Film Studios were highlighted. Cinespace Chicago Film Studios is the “Hollywood of the Midwest,” revitalizing an economically depressed neighborhood and generating over 15,000 employees. Pissios’ management at Cinespace Chicago contributed billions of dollars to the state and city of Illinois.