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Hollywood giant lines up £700m Hertfordshire movie studio

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La La Land - AP
La La Land - AP

A Hollywood property giant that hosted the movie productions of La La Land and The Bridge on the River Kwai is creating one of the UK’s largest TV and film production hubs.

Hudson Pacific Properties has joined forces with investment giant Blackstone to build a £700m facility in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, to rival Pinewood Studios.

The firms have spent £120m on a 91-acre site ahead of building a campus that will generate 4,500 jobs and £300m a year for the local economy.

The move underscores the power of Britain’s £3.3bn TV production sector, which is riding high on an insatiable demand for exclusive shows from the global streaming services.

Such is the current appetite that some producers have become embroiled in a turf war for studio space, which has prompted a wave of investment in new production facilities.

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Netflix already has exclusive access to most of Shepperton studios in West London, while Disney has a deal in place to rent most of Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.

Meanwhile, Hackman Capital Partners is pumping £300m into London’s biggest film and TV studios in Dagenman. Sky is also creating 2,000 jobs through a new studio in Hertfordshire.

Hudson Pacific and Blackstone have not put a time frame on their project because they have yet to secure planning approval.

Victor Coleman, the chief executive and chairman of Hudson Pacific, said he was confident the facility will be in “high demand from leading content creators”.

The investment marks the first expansion outside America of their Sunset Studios platform, which has hosted the movie productions of Zoolander and When Harry Met Sally.

Lewis Cocking, the leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, said it was a “fantastic opportunity for the people of our borough” and the economic boost was “just what we need following the pandemic”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the investment would create a hub for UK and international productions that will “showcase home-grown talent on the global stage”.

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