Graham awarded £44m contract for expansion of Belfast Harbour Studios
CO DOWN construction group Graham has been awarded a £44 million contract to build the second phase of Belfast Harbour Studios.
The tender has been awarded two years after Belfast Harbour commissioners secured planning approval to effectively quadruple the size of the existing 120,000 sq ft film studios at Giant’s Park on the North Foreshore of Belfast Lough.
However, at 180,000 sq ft, the contract awarded to Graham suggests the phase two building project has been down-sized from the original plans.
While the north missed out on the new Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, Belfast Harbour chief executive Joe O’Neill has said the level of interest in filming here remains strong.
The Northman, starring Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard, is among the recent major productions to utilise Belfast Harbour Studios.
The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons blockbuster starring Chris Pine has also been in production in Belfast, while Netflix selected Belfast for upcoming fantasy series The School for Good and Evil and new Kevin Hart comedy Lift.
The progression to appointing a main contractor for the expansion works indicates Harbour bosses are confident that the demand exists for similar scale productions.
It will include new purpose built sound studios with stages, supported by a number of large workshops, which will be capable of being further sub-divided.
It has been anticipated that the enlarged studios could eventually facilitate another 1,000 creative industry jobs in Northern Ireland, representing a significant boost to the burgeoning film and arts sector here.
It’s thought the 20-month build will involve around 200 construction jobs.
The contract comes just weeks after Graham reported its annual revenue grew by 17.6 per cent to £948m for the 12 months to March 2022.
The Hillsborough-based contractor saw pre-tax profits rise by 54 per cent to £19m over the same period.
Graham announced last month that its work pipeline stood at a record £1.9 billion.
It recently landed a major fit out contract to overhaul BT's Riverside Tower at Lanyon Place in Belfast.