Hudson Pacific and Blackstone to invest £700 million for a Sunset Studio in London

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 Hudson Pacific and Blackstone to invest £700 million for a Sunset Studio in London
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Summary 

  • US-based Hudson Pacific Properties and Blackstone plan to invest £700 million for the construction of a massive state-of-the-art film, TV and digital production complex in London.
  • With the easing of lockdown restrictions and rising vaccination rates, the entertainment industry in the UK is expected to witness a resurgence.
  • UK government initiatives such as the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme supported 640 projects and 55,000 screen sector jobs, along with offering monetary aid of about £1.9 billion.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted most sectors of the economy, with the entertainment industry featuring among the worst affected. Restrictions on movement and social distancing measures had brought to a halt all aspects of TV and film production. However, with the easing of lockdown restrictions and rising vaccination rates, the entertainment industry in the UK is likely to see a strong resurgence.

The newest development on this front is US-based firms Hudson Pacific Properties (NYSE: HPP), a real-estate investment trust, and Blackstone (NYSE: BX), an alternative investment management firm, announcing plans for the development of a massive state-of-the-art film, TV and digital production complex in Broxbourne, London, under the Sunset Studios platform. The world-class film and television studio campus would be the companies’ first overseas expansion project under the banner.

The funds managed by the two investment firms resulted in the acquisition of a 91-acre site, about 17 miles from central London, for consideration of £120 million. Furthermore, Hudson Pacific Properties and Blackstone announced a total investment of over £700 million ($975 million) to develop the film, TV and digital production complex. Post receiving all clearances from the authorities in the UK, the production studio will enable the creation of over 4,500 permanent employment opportunities.

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Blackstone had purchased a 49% stake in the year 2020, in the real-estate company Hudson Pacific's (NYSE: HUD) Hollywood media portfolio that included offices and 35 sound stages. It also included the facilities were some of the popular movies "When Harry Met Sally" and "La La Land" were made. The head of real estate Europe at Blackstone, James Seppala, said that the collaboration aims at delivering a production studio complex that would help strengthen Britain’s position as a premier TV and film production destination.

With improving consumer confidence and people resuming visiting movie theatres, the film production scene is slated for recovery in the latter half of the year. This is also serving as an opportunity and drawing considerable investments from across the globe to create and develop world-class film and TV production complexes and facilities. Additionally, government initiatives such as the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme (launched on 28 July 2020) backed 640 projects in its first year and offered about £1.9 billion ($2.6 billion). The scheme supported about 55,000 screen sector jobs in the UK during the year. Rising investments in the building of film and TV production studios will enable the development of the UK into a major production destination and open up new job avenues.

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