Belfast Harbour film studies set for major expansion
Belfast Harbour has submitted a planning application for the development of six new purpose-built film and television studios, a project that represents an investment of £45m and will generate 250 construction jobs and around 1,000 creative industry jobs.
The harbour's first studio opened in June 2017, providing 125,000 sq ft (11,613 sq m) of production space.
It has submitted a planning application to build a further six studios which will provide 346,000 sq ft (32,144 sq m) of new facilities.
The proposed development, which aims to capitalise on Northern Ireland’s already established world-wide reputation as a production location, will quadruple the size of the existing Belfast Harbour Film Studio complex and make Belfast a leading centre in the industry.
Record Levels of Demand
Joe O'Neill, Belfast Harbour's chief executive, 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."
Dependent on planning permission, construction work should start later this year with completion scheduled for 2021.
The first studio was used for several big productions including SyFy's Krypton TV series and is currently occupied by a major film production company.
The Northern Ireland film and television industry have grown substantially in recent years, anchored by the success of Game of Thrones which had its main studio set at Titanic Studios in Belfast.
Richard Williams, chief of Northern Ireland Screen, said studio space is at a premium across the UK, driven by huge spending on drama by new streaming services.
"With Disney and Apple joining Netflix and Amazon in investing in the launch of their 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."