REPURPOSED properties and studio conversions are helping to drive Scotland’s ambition of becoming a hub for high-end film and TV productions, according to new analysis from Knight Frank.
The commercial property consultancy’s research into film and television production in the UK found that Scotland now accounts for around 15% of total stage space outside of London and the South East, with plans submitted for several other major purpose-built facilities.
Knight Frank said there has been a ‘flurry’ of activity in the sector, with Pioneer Film Studios in Glasgow – a former warehouse and whisky distillery – recently becoming Scotland’s newest and largest film studio. The facility provides up to 200,000 sq. ft. of studio space, as well as workshop and yard spaces.
In addition, a potential 44-acre, zero carbon campus at Gartcosh – Edinburgh Caledonian Film Studios – could provide up to an additional 305,000 sq. ft. of stage space, 168,000 sq. ft. of workshop space, and 10,000 sq. ft. of production offices.
Knight Frank explained that previous attempts at growing the film industry have been hindered by a shortage of purpose-built studio space – particularly in Edinburgh – with attempts to build new facilities challenged for decades by obstacles, such as land ownership and a lack of funding.
There has also been an increased appetite from investors for Scottish studio assets, with two major facilities changing hands last year. Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld, previously the largest purpose-built film studio in Scotland, was acquired by Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management. Pyramid Business Park – a redeveloped manufacturing site which hosted the filming of the second season of Good Omens, Trainspotting T2, and Netflix’s Outlaw King – was also purchased by London and Regional during 2021.
Alasdair Steele, head of Scotland commercial at Knight Frank, said, “There has been a steady rise in inward investment to Scotland’s film sector as more global productions choose Scotland’s natural landscape and scenery, strong creative sector, competitive tax credits and world class talent pool.
“We are now beginning to see the amount of studio space capable of facilitating more of these projects coming on stream and providing the long-missing piece of the puzzle, driving the vision for Scotland as a standout location on the world stage. With that tends to come opportunities for local economies and talent emerging from Scotland’s universities and colleges.
“It is highly encouraging to see how far the industry has come in recent years and, with more studio space on the way, we could see even more internationally successful feature films and high-end television productions.”