California’s Sunset Studios Expanding To UK’s Hertfordshire With $1B Film & TV Facility

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Institutional investment firm Blackstone and real estate outfit Hudson Pacific Properties are planning a $1B film and TV studio development in the UK’s Hertfordshire.

The project is an expansion of the companies’ existing facility, California’s Sunset Studios, which has housed shoots including La La Land and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

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The partners have purchased a 91-acre site, 17 miles north of central London, through a joint venture for $120M. The build, which is subject to planning permission, is expected to be large enough to create 4,500 permanent jobs and inject £300M ($420M) into the local economy.

The location is close to existing facilities Elstree Studios and Warner Bros Leavesden.

This is the latest development in the feverish expansion of UK film and TV shooting space – dubbed the ‘space race’ – with the country’s creative industry rapidly growing in recent years as U.S. studios target the generous tax credit, existing quality studios, highly-skilled crews and readily available creative talent.

Recent research conducted by Lambert Smith Hampton projected an estimated 2.3 million sq ft of additional studio space would be required by 2033.

“This investment is excellent news for the UK’s film and TV industry, pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy and creating thousands of jobs for the people of Hertfordshire,” said UK PM Boris Johnson. “The creative industries are at the heart of our plans to build back better. This will be a hub for both UK and international productions, showcasing home-grown talent on the global stage.”

James Seppala, Head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said: “We are excited to expand our partnership with Hudson Pacific into the UK, and intend to deliver a world-class studio facility that will help ensure that the UK continues to be a premier destination for content production globally. This is a continuation of our thematic investment focus and long-term conviction in media, entertainment and content creation.”

Victor Coleman, Chairman and CEO of Hudson Pacific, added: “We are thrilled to expand our Sunset Studios platform in the UK, a global hub for film and television production. 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.”

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