Plans have been unveiled for a Hollywood standard filming complex at the iconic former Littlewoods building in Liverpool.
Owners Capital & Centric have announced a deal with the UK’s oldest film studios, Twickenham, to expand into the city. Twickenham Studios is famous for its work on films such as Blade Runner, The Italian Job and Gandhi.
The project will feature two new 20,000sq.ft sound stages at the £50m studios, alongside supporting workshops, wardrobe and prop storage and offices.
Capital & Centric are to restore the Edge Lane building, which was once home to the Football Pools, and Twickenham Studios have signed an agreement for the lease on 85,000sq.ft and will become the hub’s first anchor tenant. The deal is subject to planning permission.
Prolific North also understands that Liverpool John Moores University is in discussions about a new building on the site, with a size of more than 40,000sq.ft.
Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: “Littlewoods is one of Liverpool’s most loved buildings – it’s only fitting that we give the city something they’ll be proud of. Twickenham Studios couldn’t be a better fit.
“They’ll bring a century’s worth of film-making heritage and help to write a new chapter for the creative industries in and around Liverpool.
“Relighting the excitement and buzz around Littlewoods for a new generation of creative people will be incredible. Our legacy will be Liverpool becoming a proper powerhouse for the film industry, one that will inspire the city’s young people to take up a career in production.
“We’re taking what is an important part of Liverpool’s social fabric and creating something that has been on the city’s wish list for a long time. We couldn’t be prouder.”
Maria Walker, Chief Operating Officer of Twickenham Studios, added: “This is a major milestone in our history. When we saw the vision for Littlewoods we knew we had to be a part of what will be an incredibly special place.
“Liverpool’s architecture, accessibility and can do attitude sees film-makers return to the city time and time again. With the added benefit of our studios, they’ll have access to gold-standard interior facilities right on the doorstep of unique exterior locations.
“It will be great to see Liverpool become an international focal point for TV and film.”
The announcement comes just a week after Liverpool made the shortlist of cities to become the new home to Channel 4’s regional base – with Littlewoods a core part of the city’s bid.
Recent statistics, by economic experts Ekosgen, showed that Littlewoods Studios would create more than 570 direct jobs and support over 2,000 additional jobs thanks to the effect on the city region.
This was forecast to result in an annual boost of £124m (GVA) to the local economy. It is expected that the studios will be up and running in 2020.