Hollywood is coming to Hertfordshire after planning officials gave the nod to the construction of a new $1 billion film studio in Broxbourne.
Work on Sunset Waltham Cross Studios is to begin later this year towards a 2025 opening for what will be one of the UK’s biggest film and television production locations, housing 21 sound stages totalling almost 500,000 sq ft.
The campus, about 15 miles east of Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, home to the Harry Potter series, will be the first outside the US for Sunset Studios, the Hollywood film set where movies such as When Harry Met Sally and La La Land have been shot.
It is being jointly developed by Hudson Pacific Properties, the owner of Sunset Studios, and Blackstone, the world’s biggest private equity group.
The pair bought the 91-acre site last summer for £120 million. In total, they expect to spend upwards of £700 million building the studios, which will create an estimated 4,800 jobs and contribute more than £300 million to the local economy each year.
Property investors more used to financing offices, flats and warehouses have been looking to add film studios to their portfolios to take advantage of the recent production boom.
As the big streaming platforms battle it out for viewers, they are spending more on creating their own content, with the UK establishing itself as a key filming hub.
Two of the biggest streamers, Disney+ and Netflix, are reportedly set to spend close to $50 billion this year making their own films and television series.
“Sunset Waltham Cross Studios will be a world-renowned hub for content creation and creativity that will help assert the UK’s role as a premier destination for creating entertainment, and a demonstration of our commitment to investing in the UK,” James Seppala, Blackstone’s head of real estate Europe, said. Victor Coleman, chairman of Hudson Pacific, added that the new studios would “bring much needed supply to one of the fastest growing media markets in the world”.