A £700 million film and TV studios facility is set to be built in Hertfordshire and will create more than 4,500 jobs, a US private equity firm has announced.
Global investor Blackstone and real estate giant Hudson Pacific Properties have revealed plans to launch the “centre for film, TV and digital production” in Broxbourne to take on the likes of Warner Bros.
James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said the partnership was excited to expand into the UK, and would “deliver a world-class studio facility that will help ensure that the UK continues to be a premier destination for content production globally.”
But just where will the new studio be, and what impact will it have on the British film and TV industry?
Here is everything you need to know.
Where is Broxbourne?
Broxbourne is a town in Hertfordshire, roughly 17 miles north of London and 5 miles north of the M25 motorway. It sits near the River Lea, which forms the county boundary between Hertfordshire and Essex.
Blackstone and Hudson Pacific have acquired a 91-acre site about 20 miles east of Warner Bros Studio in Leavesden, home to the Harry Potter series.
The proposed development, which is subject to planning permission, would transform the site into one of the largest world-class film and television studio campuses.
It is understood the new studio is planned to be larger than other rivals such as Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, where James Bond and Star Wars movies have been filmed.
As part of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre - later officially renamed the Lee Valley White Water Centre - was the venue for whitewater canoe and kayak slalom events.
What is Sunset Studios?
The development will be the first operation outside of the US of the partners’ Sunset Studios platform.
There, the partnership runs four studios that have hosted major small and big screen hits including When Harry Met Sally, La La Land and numerous Academy Award winning films.
Together, Blackstone and Hudson Pacific own a media portfolio that totals 3.5 million square feet, including 35 active sound stages and on-site creative offices, as well as development rights.
Victor Coleman, chairman and chief executive officer of Hudson Pacific, said: “With our expertise developing and operating state-of-the-art media campuses and Blackstone’s resources and existing market presence, we are confident this facility will be in high demand from leading content creators.
“We look forward to working with Broxbourne Council to ensure the project has a meaningful positive impact on the local community.”
How will the new studio affect the British film industry?
The companies said the total investment in the project, which is set to create more than 4,500 permanent jobs, is expected to be in excess of £700 million including the land purchase.
The project is expected to contribute more than £300 million annually into the local economy.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the investment was “excellent news” for the UK’s film and TV industry, adding the new studio will serve as “a hub for both UK and international productions, showcasing home-grown talent on the global stage.”
And Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This new studio is yet another vote of confidence in the UK’s booming film and TV industry.
“Through the British Film Commission, we’re supporting the development of stage spaces like this across the UK, boosting the local economy and backing our world-class creatives to make the next Bond blockbuster or binge worthy box set.”