A new movie studio is set to be built just outside London as part of an effort to tempt the likes of Amazon and Netflix to make more blockbusters in the U.K.
The development, which is subject to planning permission, is being funded by Blackstone Real Estate Partners and Hudson Pacific Properties.
The companies have paid £120 million ($167 million) for a 91-acre site in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, which is located nearly 20 miles north of the capital. They plan to spend around £700 million on the development in total.
Blackstone and Hudson Pacific already own a group of studios in California called Sunset Studios.
The new movie studio “campus” is being hailed as an expansion of Sunset Studios, which has three locations across Hollywood. “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” has been filmed at Sunset Studios, as have movies like “La La Land”, “Karate Kid” and “Zoolander”.
“We are thrilled to expand our Sunset Studios platform in the U.K., a global hub for film and television production,” said Victor Coleman, chairman, and CEO of Hudson Pacific, in a statement.
“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,” he added.
James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said in a statement: “This is a continuation of our thematic investment focus and long-term conviction in media, entertainment, and content creation.”
The site for the movie studio is expected to be bigger than Britain’s well-known Pinewood Studios, which is where the James Bond franchise began in the 1960s.
The firms say the movie studio will create over 4,500 jobs for Broxbourne and the surrounding area while contributing over £300 million a year to the local economy. “This represents a fantastic opportunity for the people of our borough,” said Lewis Cocking, the leader of Broxbourne Borough Council.
The U.K. ranks among the leading Movie-producing markets in the world but it lags behind Hollywood in the U.S. and Bollywood in India. In 2020, the amount spent on film and high-end television production in the U.K. reached £2.84 billion, a 21% decrease on 2019′s levels, according to the British Film Institute.
Oliver Dowden, the U.K.‘s culture minister, hailed the new studio as another “vote of confidence in the U.K.’s booming film and TV industry.”