Belfast Harbour launches £45m bid to quadruple film studio operation

An artist's impression of the new studio space
Ryan McAleer

BELFAST Harbour has announced a £45 million bid to build of six new purpose-built film and television studios, creating 250 construction jobs and up to 1,000 roles in the creative sector.

The proposed development, will seek to maximize Belfast’s attractiveness as a production location.

If successful, the planning application would quadruple the size of the existing Belfast Harbour Film Studio on the sprawling port estate.

Phase one of the harbour studio development was completed three years ago at Giant’s Park, with the opening of two 32,000 square feet studios and 125,000 square feet of overall production space.

The location was recently used for SyFy’s Krypton TV series. Belfast Harbour said a major film production company is currently on site.

The new phase includes four additional 21,000 square feet studios, two 16,000 square feet studios, as well as up to 100,000 square feet of production offices and 130,000 square feet of support workshops on an adjoining 20-acre site.

In total, the project represents more than 346,000 square feet of additional production facilities which, when combined with phase one, will create the largest studio complex outside of the south east of England.

Commenting on the new planning application, chief executive of Belfast Harbour, Joe O’Neill, said: “In 2017 we invested £20m to provide brand new studio facilities but with record levels of demand for studio space globally we are confident the time is right to progress with phase two of the development.

“This new studio complex will build on Northern Ireland’s already impressive international reputation and generate around 1,000 creative industry jobs across a wide variety of disciplines.”

Once planning permission is secured, construction on phase two is due to start later this year.

Head of NI Screen, Richard Williams, said: “With Disney and Apple joining Netflix and Amazon in investing in the launch of their own on-demand streaming services, there is no end in sight to the demand for high-end, high-cost content. That has led to unprecedented demand for studio space globally, so Belfast Harbour’s announcement comes at a perfect time for our local industry.

“Belfast Harbour’s support for the screen industries in Northern Ireland is exemplary, and their vision for phase two of Belfast Harbour Studios is inspired. It is a development that will help Northern Ireland to become the largest screen sector in the UK and Ireland outside of the southeast of England.”

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