Market Leads & Opportunities

£70m plan to turn Littlewoods Building into ‘Hollywood of the North’


A £70m plan to redevelop Liverpool’s iconic Littlewoods building into one of the country’s biggest TV and film complexes has been announced.The scheme could create almost 4,000 jobs, transforming Liverpool into one of Europe’s premier TV and Film hubs.The former art-deco HQ of the Littlewoods empire has been vacant for decades and is in a state of severe dilapidation, including fire damage in 2018.A report, which will go to the council’s cabinet meeting for sign off next week, sets out proposals for a major redevelopment in two phases, with approval being sought to begin an £8m remediation first phase in early 2022.If approved, phase one funding will come from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and be granted to developers CAPITAL&CENTRIC to carry out site investigations, remediation and main scheme design works.The £8m required is part of a wider £17m funding package previously agreed by the Combined Authority, £3m of which has already delivered The Depot studios, which are located on an adjoining plot.Phase one works will take approximately a year and once phase two is fully costed, this could lead to a full development contract.For phase two to proceed a fully-costed funding package is required, with the council and combined authority projecting to both invest £12m and a commercial lender being sought for the balance.The scheme, which would be subject to planning permission, already has two proposed major anchor tenants – Twickenham Studios and Liverpool John Moores University. The arrangement would provide a direct link between academia and industry in what would be the largest facility of its type in the UK.The Littlewoods Studios scheme would comprise of:85,000 sq ft of studio and ancillary space for Twickenham Film Studios, to be operated by TIME+SPACE Studios. 75,000 sq ft of education space proposed for Liverpool John Moores University to deliver a sector-leading Entertainment Technology Centre to ensure local young people develop high-level skills to work in the industry.A further 95,000 sq ft of flexible employment space for creative industries, which will be advertised to market for expressions of interest. Littlewoods Studios would also complement the recently completed Council and Combined Authority funded studio, known as ‘The Depot’.These two 20,000 sq ft temporary filming stages, managed by the Liverpool Film Office, only opened last month and have already taken a flurry of bookings from a wide range of clients.It is predicted that The Depot alone will create a £24m economic boost for the regional economy, creating 360 new jobs and 760 indirect jobs and forms part of Liverpool’s 10 post-pandemic pledges to stimulate growth.Liverpool is already the second most filmed city in the UK and is currently hosting productions inckuding Sky’s Funny Girl and Channel 4’s The Curse.It also recently invested in and supported Channel 4’s Help, BBC’s The Responder and ITV’s adaptation of The Ipcress File, through its LCR Production Fund.The BBC’s sixth series of Peaky Blinders, Doctor Who, Ridley Road, Netflix’s Stay Close, Sky’s COBRA: Cyberwar and major blockbusters such as Warner Bros’ The Batman and Netflix’s Munich: The Edge of War were also filmed in Liverpool.