Sunset Studios, a tie-up between US private equity firm Blackstone and real estate giant Hudson Pacific Properties, last night announced their first outpost outside the US at Broxbourne, Herts.
The 91-acre site, some 20 miles east of Harry Potter’s home at Warner Bros Studio in Leavesden, has already been bagged for £120million. And Sunset wants their lot to be bigger than other rivals, such as Pinewood, Bucks, where James Bond and Star Wars movies have been filmed.
The lesser-known outfit has many big and small screen hits under its belt, including When Harry Met Sally, La La Land and other Oscar-winning films. Blackstone and Hudson Pacific say the total investment 17 miles north of central London will top £700million.
James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said: “We intend to deliver a world-class studio facility that will help ensure 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, chief executive 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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “excellent news”. He added: “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.”
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.”