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Blackstone-backed UK film studio gets planning go-ahead

Blackstone and New York-listed media real estate specialist Hudson Pacific Properties have obtained planning consent for a 1.2 million sq ft (111,484 sq m)  film studio at Broxbourne in UK county Hertfordshire, 17 miles north of central London.

Slated to open on the 91-acre site in 2025, the 21-sound stage Sunset Waltham Cross Studios will provide facilities for recording feature films and high-end television as well as digital production.

Blackstone said the project is expected to create over 4,800 jobs and contribute £300 million annually to the local economy.

Preliminary site work will start in the second half of the year with actual construction due to commence in 2023.

The project will also include 420,000 sq ft of workshop and mill space, and 250,000 sq ft of “stage-adjacent” production office and support space. There will also be amenity, basecamp and backlot spaces.

“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 is yet another demonstration of our commitment to investing in the UK,” said James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe.

The project will also create one of the ‘greenest’ studios in the UK, the firm said. LEED Gold certification and a BREEAM Excellent rating will be sought which would put the development in the top 10% of buildings in the UK in terms of sustainability performance. Energy efficiency and biodiversity will be central to the design and development. Sustainability initiatives are also planned to lower the operational carbon impact of each production filmed at the studio.

Sunset Waltham Cross is Blackstone and Hudson Pacific’s first expansion outside of the US for its jointly owned Sunset Studios, which now has five facilities and over 60 stages.