Construction has begun on Birmingham’s Digbeth Loc. Studios, the brainchild of British screenwriter, director and producer, Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”).
Knight’s vision, alongside business partner, TIME+SPACE CEO Piers Read, is to create a long-term cultural legacy for his home city by welcoming blue-chip brands to the studio.
Work on the site is expected to complete by mid-July with the first filming due to take place in October. First shows to be filmed at the new facility include BBC drama “This Town” from Banijay U.K.’s Kudos and food format, “MasterChef,” produced by Banijay U.K.’s Shine TV. An area of the new studios is also expected to be occupied by legendary Birmingham reggae band UB40.
The £1.3 million ($1.59 million) investment by Birmingham City Council, together with landowner Homes England and with support from the West Midlands Combined Authority, aims to galvanize the region’s £4 billion creative economy, offering a focal point to draw local and international screen-industries talent. It is anticipated the studios will contribute more than £30 million to the local economy, creating 760 local jobs.
The development will see disused Victorian era buildings converted into a modern, state-of-the-art studio complex, comprising three film studios, production offices and construction workshops spanning 80,000 sq.ft of regenerated space in Birmingham’s creative quarter, Digbeth. Located within seven-minutes walking distance of Birmingham’s train stations the site sits within the Warwick Bar conservation area and will conserve the characteristics and heritage of Birmingham’s canalside buildings.
The international success of “Peaky Blinders” has been credited with a 26% increase in domestic visitors to Birmingham and a 19% rise in international tourists.
Knight said: “It’s so exciting that this day has come and after a lot of hard work by lots of people at Homes England, Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Our plans are ambitious and we will be making TV and movies on an international scale. We are planting an industry in the fertile soil of Birmingham and we need local people to make it happen. We have structures in place to begin the business of training local people in the skills needed and we want people to know that this is a viable industry that is here to stay.”
Read added: “As the former MD of the Custard Factory in Digbeth, ever since I left, I always wanted to be back, and this announcement today sees that dream become a reality. This is just the beginning. For us, it is all about making a place that provides the experience to producers providing the key amenities and creature comforts the modern-day production deserves.”