Glasgow reveals 'anchor tenant' is lined up for £11.9m Kelvin Hall film and TV studio
Glasgow has already secured an "anchor tenant" for its new film and TV studio at the historic Kelvin Hall, its council leader has revealed.
Susan Aitken insisted the £11.9 million studio facility was not being created "speculatively" at the iconic site in the city’s west end.
She said a "well established and significant player" in the screen sector was ready to move into the building as soon as possible.
Cllr Aitken suggested the new facility would be aimed at productions which are developed in Glasgow but currently have to be filmed elsewhere because of a shortage of studio space.
It is understood the company in question, which has committed to take on around a third of the space in the new complex, already works with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.
Glasgow is hoping to capitalise on what industry experts have hailed as record demand for studio space in Scotland in recent months, since the screen sector was given approval to resume production of films and TV programmes across the UK.
The city council has agreed a deal in principle which would see the Scottish Government to provide up to £7.9 million worth of funding to ensure the studio can be up and running within months.
The local authority plans to borrow £4 million to get the project off the ground in the hope of being able to recoup the money by renting out the new “box” studio and production facilities.
Speaking on Radio Scotland, Ms Aitken said: "The independent production community in Scotland and particularly in Glasgow is incredibly vibrant.
"There are ideas and programme development coming out of Glasgow all the time.
"But part of the problem is that they sometimes have to come out of Glasgow to do the filming because the studio space is not actually there, and we lose productions to places like Manchester and London.
"This is actually a low-risk proposition for the council and returns we’d expect to get are incredibly valuable.
"This isn’t about productions coming here. The productions are already here and are having to leave. This is something the industry has been crying out for for some time.
"We’re not building this speculatively. There’s an anchor tenant ready to move into the Kelvin Hall. They’re a well-established and significant player in the screen sector in Scotland.”
The studio has been announced five years after the completion of a £40 million redevelopment and expansion of the Kelvin Hall, which created a new home for Scotland’s national screen archive.
Cllr Aitken added “The Kelvin Hall is a perfect space for this – it’s absolutely enormous.
“It might be a long time since a lot of people were in the Kelvin Hall, but for those who know the building if they cast their minds back they probably still don’t have a concept of how huge it is.
"Even though there’s been a lot of fantastic redevelopment there in recent years there’s still a lot of space available.
"The work we’ve done with the screen sector and the Scottish Government to bring together this proposal and the funding to support it allows not just for the redevelopment of this fantastic historic building, but for the provision of a facility that is really lacking, not just in Glasgow but in Scotland.”
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