Morgan Sindall Construction has now ‘topped out’ the two 20,000 sq ft Hollywood-style sound studios being built in Liverpool and they will welcome movie-makers by the summer. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s new purpose-built Hollywood-style film studios will be operational by the summer after builders reached a major milestone.
Contractor Morgan Sindall Construction has now ‘topped out’ the two 20,000 sq ft sound studios that will be used for film and TV productions. They are part of the wider £54m Littlewoods Film and TV studio complex off Edge Lane.
The new production facilities are to be called ‘The Depot’, taking inspiration from the location’s history as a former bus site for Merseyside Transport. They are seen as critical to Liverpool’s strategy to cement its reputation as one of Europe’s premier film and TV production hubs.
Liverpool has become one of the top European destinations for film and TV companies and has provided backdrops for numerous productions including Harry Potter and Peaky Blinders. Liverpool’s architecture has doubled up as New York, Chicago and Moscow.
It is currently hosting productions such as such as ITV’s remake of The Ipcress File and BBC’s Peaky Blinders and The Responder starring Martin Freeman. It also also recently welcomed blockbusters such as Warner Bros’ The Batman, and high-end TV drama such as Netflix’s The Irregulars
Liverpool Film Office has been instrumental in encouraging film-makers to come to the city. But the lack of top-notch post-production facilities and sound stages for indoors scenes has meant that, when the cameras stop rolling, the production companies go elsewhere to complete their work.
Liverpool City Council’s Development Team and Film Office, which was the first of its kind in Europe, are overseeing the scheme and the Film Office is already in talks with major global production use of the stages. It is expected the facilities, which have received funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will be operational by summer 2021.
The pop-up studios will offer a temporary facility to capitalise on the current demand for studio space until the nearby Littlewoods studios scheme, being undertaken by developer Capital & Centric, is complete. Capital & Centric has already secured two anchor tenants for the complex – Twickenham Studios and Liverpool John Moores University.
It is predicted The Depot will create a £24m economic boost for the regional economy, creating 360 new jobs and 760 indirect jobs. Wendy Simon, Acting Mayor of Liverpool, said: “I think The Depot is a perfect name for these studios – as it’s a place where ideas will come to life and will make the magic we enjoy on the screen happen.
“As a well as being a nod to the site’s history, The Depot is also a signpost to the city’s future – one built on a creative and knowledge-based workforce.
“The topping out of The Depot is an exciting moment in the journey to realising Liverpool’s ambition to be a 24/7 film city. There’s already a huge amount of interest to book these studios, which underlines their value, but they will also prove to be a fabulous asset for training and nurturing talent in Liverpool.”