Plans 50,000 sq ft campus for film, TV, games and virtual production
A £18m ‘creative content hub’ for independent TV production in Birmingham has been announced. The development will be spread across a 50,000 sq ft campus, at The Bond, in Birmingham’s Creative Quarter.
An investment of £3m from Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) has been confirmed for the project, to enable it to go ahead, subject to planning permission.
A planning application has now been submitted for five existing and derelict heritage buildings on the Fazeley Street site to be transformed into a space for the region’s diverse talent.
The developers say it will be a “flexible space to lead the way in media innovation. It’s the first step towards creating a cluster of film, TV, games and virtual production that will pave the way for new and immersive media content of the future.
The site is being developed by Oval Real Estate and Oval Developments (Oval), working in partnership with Create Central, GBSLEP and West Midlands Growth Company.
GBSLEP board director for creative and culture, Anita Bhalla, said: “GBSLEP’s investment of £3m reflects our commitment to the creative industries, which we see as a priority sector that stimulates inclusive economic growth and a catalyst for job creation.
“The creative content hub will be an exciting addition to the media landscape and at the heart of innovative production in the region. It’s also an exciting step towards creating a TV, film and multimedia cluster in the heart of Birmingham’s Creative Quarter, in Digbeth.’’
Create Central chair, Ed Shedd, added: “The concept of a creative content hub was developed by the industry, through Create Central, to provide a means of kick-starting the sector post-pandemic. It is set to position the West Midlands at the forefront of developing new ways of working that will re-invent and future-proof traditional television, film and wider digital content production.”
Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is incredibly exciting that thanks to some brilliant collaborative working we have managed to get this world class creative content hub off the ground. The West Midlands has some of the most creative talent in the world, but in the past we have been notoriously poor at nurturing and retaining it. This new hub will go a long way to both addressing that and re-establishing the West Midlands as one of the country’s premier film and TV destinations.”
Cllr Ian Brookfield, City of Wolverhampton Council Leader and WMCA Economy and Innovation Portfolio Holder said: “Creative industries like TV and film not only play an important role in our lives, they’re also a key part of the economy in the West Midlands. The hub will provide jobs, skills and opportunities for people from across the West Midlands as we bounce back from the pandemic and thrive in the months and years ahead.”
James Craig, Founder of Oval Real Estate and owner of the Digbeth Estate, added: “The Digbeth Estate is delighted to have secured match funding from GBSLEP for the conversion of the much-loved Bond Company in Digbeth into a centre of excellence for creatives in the West Midlands. Digbeth has a long history of attracting raw talent; this project will bring independent production businesses of all sizes to the area and continue the resurgence of creative activity across the West Midlands.”