London, UK (November 3, 2020)—Los-Angeles-based real estate investment firm Hackman Capital Partners (HCP) has agreed to invest £300 million over the next three years to develop Eastbrook Studios London, which will be the U.K. capital’s largest film and TV studio campus.
HCP, which owns Culver Studios in Los Angeles and Silvercup Studios in New York City, signed the deal with Barking and Dagenham Council after the original backer dropped out over concerns regarding the potential impact of Brexit. The project, which has long been touted by its backers as London’s answer to Hollywood, already has planning permission.
The campus is expected to include as many as 12 sound stages, three acres of backlot, offices and ancillary space spread over 500,000 square feet — about two-thirds the area of Pinewood Studios, which is about 20 miles west of central London, where the Star Wars and James Bond franchises are produced. Construction is projected to begin on land formerly occupied by a pharmaceutical factory opposite the Dagenham East Underground station in 2021. The first productions at Eastbrook Studios London are due to start filming by mid-2022, with the campus fully operational by 2023.
According to a statement from the Barking and Dagenham Council, the new studios will be a major boost for the borough, the entertainment industry and the capital, creating an estimated 1,200 jobs, contributing £35M per year to the local economy and inspiring more development into thriving East London.
“Dagenham used to be famous for factories and Fords,” says Councilor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, “but in the future, we will be equally famous for making films. It’s not for the glamour or glory. It’s about bringing in thousands of jobs, providing education and training opportunities for local young people, and giving people hope in these gloomy Covid times.”
More than £3.6 billion was invested into U.K. film and TV productions last year. The coronavirus pandemic has put a serious dent in the business, but analysts estimate that over 85% of productions have returned, mainly in London and the south east of England, bringing employment to more than 100,000 workers.
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, believes the new studio complex will aid in the capital’s bounce back from COVID-19: “We are already seeing that the success of this industry will help our economy to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and these studios will play a key role in our city’s future.”
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham • www.lbbd.gov.uk