News that the former Littlewoods building is set to open as a blockbusting filming complex in 2021 has received a round of applause throughout the city.
The complex, which will have two 20,000 sq ft sound stages and 100,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, will be a massive boost for the city, creating around 4,000 new jobs.
More than that, it will help give the city an even greater starring role in the movie industry, according to Steve Cheers, co-founder of Film Liverpool.
Steve, whose company provides production services including crewing, casting, sets and locations for commercials, TV and films, says the plans for the complex look ‘fantastic’.
He says the city is already in great demand as a location for films and TV drama series because of its amazing architecture and ‘film-friendly’ culture.
Films like Fast and Furious 6, Captain America The First Avenger, Fantastic Beasts, Florence Foster Jenkins and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were among the many which most recently filmed here, along with TV dramas like Peaky Blinders, Sky One series Bullet Proof and Netflix’s The Crown.
“Help from the Liverpool Film Office means roads can be closed quickly too,” he says, “making it a cost-effective city for film companies. It’s easy to move around.”
But news that the filming complex is a step nearer will make an even greater difference again, he says.
“Liverpool struggles to retain a production because it has no sound stages or dedicated film studio.
“Manchester has three, two of which are council-owned and part-funded by the local authority, Space Studios and The Sharp Project, so it’s constantly full of film and TV production,” Steve adds.
“The complex once it opens will be great for the city and its film industry.”
The former home to Littlewoods pools had been derelict for years until it was bought by the City Council and then sold to Capital and Centric property developers in 2017.
Despite a fire in September last year which treatened to halt the process, the developer has revealed renovation of the iconic building is expected to begin by the end of this year.
John Moffatt, Director at Capital and Centric gave the council’s Regeneration and Sustainability Committee an update about plans to build two 20,000 sq ft sound stages, 100,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and a 15,000 sq ft events hub including a 150-seat screening room, which will be open to the public in the evenings.
He said the new film and TV hub, which has already signed up the world famous Twickenham Studios as a tenant, would create an annual economic impact of £199 million and revolutionise Liverpool’s celebrated film sector which currently generates £16m a year.
The new development will provide facilities for production as well as filming.
Mr Moffatt added: “The development will make Liverpool a world leading city in the film industry.”
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “We’re talking about bringing the world’s film industry to us. They’re already here for Liverpool’s amazing exterior locations, but Littlewoods will give them a one-stop home for interior filming.”
Filming in Liverpool started again at the end of July for the third and final series of Sky Atlantic thriller Tin Star, starring Tim Roth and Genevieve Reilly.
By Jan Tansley, Copy Media
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