Film studios set for action at Littlewoods

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The Littlewoods Building hasn’t been used since 2003. Pic © Capital and Centric

Liverpool is one step closer to getting its own £30m film studio as property developers finalise plans to take over the former Littlewoods building on Edge Lane.

Capital and Centric is set to acquire the listed building within the next seven days, with work scheduled to begin later this month following many years of alternative schemes which came to nothing.

The new proposals will see the building turned into a 11,000 sq m film studio with a creative and digital hub, office space and a new Liverpool Theatre School.

The art deco structure has been abandoned since 2003, but last year it received a £5m grant from the Local Growth Fund in a bid to transform it.

The project is said to have the potential to create as many as 1,500 jobs throughout the development process.

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The Littlewoods building and adjacent land is currently owned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which have been working with the city council to ensure it is transferred to the new owners at no extra cost.

Building history

* Sir John Moores commissions site in the 1930s for his football pools business

* Plays its part in the WWII effort by manufacturing barrage balloons

* Plans fall through for a hotel along with proposals for two secondary schools

* Capital and Centric announces plans to transform building into a film studio

John Moffatt, property developer at Capital and Centric, told JMU Journalism: “We’ve been amazed at the amount of enquiries that have been coming in, even before we had marketed the site at all. We haven’t done anything to market the scheme and yet we have got a lot of tenant interest, which is obviously very positive.

“The total cost of the project is somewhere between £20-30m. In terms of jobs, it will create well in excess of 400 jobs directly.

“Clearly, there is a massive benefit to the wider economy. If you bring a film studio into the city, you’ve got all of those people staying in hotels, eating and drinking and using the hospitality industries. The economic multiplier for the city in terms of GDP is huge, so the jobs figures is slightly misleading as I think it will add even more than that.”

Speaking after a Liverpool City Combined Authority meeting last year, Mayor Joe Anderson said: “It’s fantastic news for the film industry and for the wider city region.

“Most local people know how long the building has been lying there unused and just to see it refurbished will have a huge positive impact in its own right.”

About Rhys Edmondson, JMU Journalism