The new production facilities are to be called The Depot, taking inspiration from the location’s history as a former bus site for Merseyside Transport Limited.
The naming coincides with the news that Morgan Sindall Construction, who are building the stages on behalf of Liverpool City Council, has reached the first major milestone for The Depot, with the topping out of the two 20,000 sq ft sound studios.
Situated adjacent to the famous Littlewoods Building, off Edge Lane, The Depot is seen as critical to Liverpool’s strategy to cement its reputation as one of Europe’s premier film and TV production hubs.
Ideally located being just a 10-minute drive from the city centre and the M62, The Depot is one of the major projects earmarked in Liverpool’s Recovery Plan to stimulate the city’s post-pandemic economy.
It is expected that the sound stages, which have received funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will be operational by Summer 2021.
Liverpool City Council’s Development Team and Film Office, which was the first of its kind in Europe, are overseeing the scheme and the Film Office is already in talks with major global production use of the stages.
Liverpool is one of the major film destinations in the UK and, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, is experiencing the busiest period for film and TV production on record, in part accelerated by investment in several shows from the Liverpool City Region Production Fund.
The pop-up studios will offer a temporary facility to capitalise on the current demand for studio space until the nearby Littlewoods studios scheme is complete.
It is predicted The Depot will create a £24m economic boost for the regional economy, creating 360 new jobs and 760 indirect jobs.
The city is currently hosting illustrious productions such as ITV’s remake of The Ipcress File and BBC’s Peaky Blinders and The Responder starring Martin Freeman, as well as recently welcoming blockbusters such as Warner Bros’ The Batman, and high-end TV drama such as Netflix’s The Irregulars, Channel 4’s Help (w/t), BBC’s Time and Sky’s COBRA and Tin Star: Liverpool.
Councillor Wendy Simon, Acting Mayor of Liverpool, said:
“I think The Depot is a perfect name for these studios – as it’s a place where ideas will come to life and will make the magic we enjoy on the screen happen.
“As a well as being a nod to the site’s history, The Depot is also a signpost to the city’s future – one built on a creative and knowledge-based workforce.
“The topping out of The Depot is an exciting moment in the journey to realising Liverpool’s ambition to be a 24/7 film city.
There’s already a huge amount of interest to book these studios, which underlines their value, but they will also prove to be a fabulous asset for training and nurturing talent in Liverpool.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I’ve long said our region is the country’s creative capital and we’re investing to make sure it stays that way. We’ve approved investment of £17m to support the new stages, along with the Littlewood Film and TV studios and it’s fantastic to see the new production facilities topped out.
“The Liverpool City Region is already an obvious choice for what we can offer in front of the camera, with a wealth of creative talent and stunning backdrops. Now we can be a worldwide filming destination for what we offer behind the camera too, with world class facilities that mean productions can be shot, edited and finished without having to leave the region.”
Richard Potts, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The topping out of The Depot is not just a key moment in the construction of these brilliant new sound stages but also a milestone in how our city can flourish in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Liverpool’s magnificent architecture means it has long attracted film and TV productions from all over the world. Now, with The Depot the city will be even more attractive to the creative industries, resulting in significant investment and the opportunity to create valuable jobs for local people. It’s a pleasure for our team to work on another development in the city that will help shape its future for many years to come.”