Construction of the main phase of the Shinfield Studios development near Reading has officially begun after the studio and its law firm secured £261 million in debt finance funding.
Shinfield Studios and Farrer & Co secured the funding from Cain International and have also agreed a new 199-year geared lease from The University of Reading, the freehold owner of the wider Thames Valley Science Park site.
The facility initially opened four stages last December, with Disney confirmed as its first client. Work is now underway on another 14, with nine due to open in 2023, and completion of the entire facility expected by the end of 2024.
It will span nearly 1 million square feet and has planning for a total of 18 purpose built sound stages, as well as workshops and offices. In addition, the development will house facilities for cast and crew and is expected to create 3,000 new jobs.
Shinfield Studios has been designed to embrace sustainable production and practices and all buildings will be constructed to BREEAM excellent standards. It will use solar panels, which the owners say will contribute to a typical reduction of 20 per cent in carbon emissions.
The deal constitutes a major piece of international investment into the UK TV and film industry, and the studios themselves are expected to generate between £500-600 million of inward investment annually, said Farrar & Co.