- LONDON & LOS ANGELES
Blackstone (NYSE: BX) and Hudson Pacific Properties (NYSE: HPP) plan to create a major new center for film, TV and digital production in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.
Funds managed by Blackstone Real Estate Partners and Hudson Pacific Properties acquired a 91-acre site, 17 miles north of central London, through a joint venture for £120 million ($167 million). The acquisition, with an expected total investment of over £700 million (nearly $1 billion), will be the partners’ first expansion of their Sunset Studios platform outside of the US.
The proposed development, which is subject to planning permission, would transform the site into one of the largest world-class film and television studio campuses. The project is expected to create over 4,500 permanent jobs for Broxbourne and the surrounding community and contribute more than £300 million ($415 million) annually into the local economy.
This transaction is a continuation of Blackstone’s existing joint venture with Hudson Pacific, a Los Angeles-based office and studio owner and operator. Together, Blackstone and Hudson Pacific own a media portfolio that totals 3.5 million square feet, including 35 active sound stages and on-site creative offices, as well as development rights. Sunset Studios has hosted some of the biggest small and big screen hits including When Harry Met Sally and La La Land as well as numerous Academy Award winning films.
James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said, “We are excited to expand our partnership with Hudson Pacific into the U.K., 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, said, “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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “This investment is excellent news for the U.K.’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. The creative industries are at the heart of our plans to build back better. This will be a hub for both U.K. and international productions, showcasing home-grown talent on the global stage.”
Oliver Dowden MP (member of Parliament), Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said, “This new studio is yet another vote of confidence in the U.K.’s booming film and TV industry. Through the British Film Commission, we’re supporting the development of stage spaces like this across the U.K.--boosting the local economy and backing our world-class creatives to make the next Bond blockbuster or bingeworthy box set.”
Councillor Lewis Cocking, leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, said: “This represents a fantastic opportunity for the people of our borough. Creative Industries are of strategic importance to us and the creation of over 4,500 permanent new jobs and the associated boost to the local economy is just what we need following the pandemic.”