Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties buy £120m site to expand Sunset Studios in the UK

A joint venture between Blackstone and Hudson Pacific Properties has acquired a 91-acre site in Waltham Cross, Broxbourne, for £120m in order to grow their Sunset Studios platform in the UK.


The purchase of the Park Plaza West site for a proposed £700m development, subject to planning permission, will be the partners’ first expansion of their Sunset Studios platform outside of the US.

The project is expected to create over 4,500 permanent jobs for Broxbourne and the surrounding community and contribute more than £300m annually to the local economy.

In 2011, the landowners appointed Commercial Estate Group to promote the site through the Emerging Broxbourne Local Plan. 

This was adopted in June 2020 and the site was then allocated for the creation of a business campus of up to 100,000 square metres of floor space.

The landowners were represented by BNP Paribas Real Estate and Payne Hicks Beach LLP, Commercial Estates Group by DTRE and Reed Smith, and Sunset Studios by CBRE and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.  

Together, Blackstone and Hudson Pacific own a media portfolio that totals 3.5 million square feet, including 35 active sound stages and on-site creative offices, as well as development rights.

James Seppala, head of Blackstone Real Estate Europe, said: “We are excited to expand our partnership with Hudson Pacific into the UK, and intend to deliver a world-class studio facility that will help ensure that the UK continues to be a premier destination for content production globally. 

“This is a continuation of our thematic investment focus and long-term conviction in media, entertainment and content creation.”  

Victor Coleman, chairman and CEO at Hudson Pacific, added: “We are thrilled to expand our Sunset Studios platform in the UK, a global hub for film and television production. 

“With our expertise developing and operating state-of-the-art media campuses, and Blackstone’s resources and existing market presence, we are confident this facility will be in high demand from leading content creators. 

“We look forward to working with Broxbourne Council to ensure the project has a meaningful positive impact on the local community.”

Prime minister, Boris Johnson, commented: “This investment is excellent news for the UK’s film and TV industry, pumping hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy and creating thousands of jobs for the people of Hertfordshire. 

“The creative industries are at the heart of our plans to build back better. 

“This will be a hub for both UK and international productions, showcasing home-grown talent on the global stage.”

Oliver Dowden, secretary of state at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, stated: “This new studio is yet another vote of confidence in the UK’s booming film and TV industry. 

“Through the British Film Commission, we’re supporting the development of stage spaces like this across the UK, boosting the local economy and backing our world-class creatives to make the next Bond blockbuster or bingeworthy box set.”

Edward Smith, senior director and head of national office agency at BNP Paribas Real Estate, added: “This deal represents a ten-year journey for us and our client, the landowners, working with our fantastic partners Commercial Estates Group.

“It is a testament to the hard work and passion of the team that the deal has been completed.  

“The UK requires investment and ambition as it looks to emerge from under the economic cloud of the pandemic. 

“It will be hugely exciting to see [Sunset Studios] harness the potential of a truly great site and further enhance the UKs global reputation for film and TV excellence.”

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