Media release: Screen Scotland seeks operator for major film and TV production facility at The Port of Leith, Edinburgh

Courtesy of Forth Ports

TODAY, Friday 7 December 2018, Screen Scotland launches a tender process inviting proposals from private developers to lease, refurbish and operate a permanent world-class film and television production facility at 31 Bath Road (formerly the Pelamis building), Port of Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Recently host to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War (2017), the ex-industrial building is situated on a private, gated 8.6acre site within the port estate and is owned by Forth Ports Limited.

Offering industry-standard dimensions, it incorporates adaptable interior shooting options across 160,000 sq ft and potential for five sound stages of between 50ft and 100ft in height. In addition, there is 27,000 sq ft of flexible workshop, production and high-end office space; ample backlot provision allowing for significant production set-builds, and is well serviced by vehicle access doors and tech and unit based parking.

The building is conveniently located in Edinburgh, three miles north of the city-centre, is just ten miles from Edinburgh International Airport and a 50-minute drive west along the M8 from Glasgow and within reach of Scotland’s breathtaking locations.

Public transport links also connect it with both Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the development providing parking to accommodate permanent personnel alongside visiting studio productions.

This tender invitation is for organisations to:

* Lease the 31 Bath Road premises from Screen Scotland;

* Fund and carry out a refurbishment of the building to provide commercially viable studio facilities. This may be partially funded by state aid compliant funding from Screen Scotland; and

* Operate the building as a studio facility, receiving rental income from screen production companies.

Increasing the range of Scotland’s studio infrastructure to include permanent studio space complementing existing facilities like Wardpark Studios to house the largest film and high-end television productions has the joint objective of supporting the growth of Scotland’s screen production industry and increasing inward investment from international productions.

Scotland offers a strong proposition for growth in the screen sector due to:

* an ambitious and talented independent screen sector;

* an excellent and growing skills base;

* co-operative public organisations at both national and local levels which help facilitate access to key locations an existing supply chain built up around three national TV broadcasters (BBC, STV and Channel 4); and

* a track record of working with major international screen production organisations, including major streaming service providers.

Isabel Davis, executive director, Screen Scotland, said: “The enormous potential of 31 Bath Road was demonstrated when it hosted Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War last year. Its scale, accessibility, proximity to crew and central Edinburgh and its ability to be rapidly adapted make it a highly attractive proposition and one that could swiftly provide a home in Scotland for large0scale productions.

“Screen Scotland is firmly committed to supporting the growth of the screen sector to be a global screen leader.  The site presents a fantastic opportunity to increase Scotland’s screen infrastructure, and capitalise on the unprecedented production boom, which will have a hugely positive impact on our screen sector and the wider economy.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “The Scottish Government is focused on strengthening our screen sector and creating the conditions to support continued growth across production, development, talent and skills.

“We have significantly increased our funding for screen this year and supported the launch of Screen Scotland, which brings together public sector support for the industry.

“We welcome the launch of this tender process, which aims to enhance Scotland’s screen infrastructure and give private sector operators an opportunity to invest in Scotland’s growing screen sector.”

Stuart Wallace, chief operating officer from Forth Ports, said: “Our support for Scottish industry does not stop at the quayside and we are thrilled that Screen Scotland has chosen the Port of Leith as the location to expand Scotland’s studio provision. This building has been popular with the creative industry recently with Avengers: Infinity War using 31 Bath Road as a studio space.

“As Scotland’s capital port and a major economic driver for Edinburgh with the capability to handle in excess of one million tonnes of cargo over the quayside annually, we are no strangers to hosting big and ambitious projects.”

Today’s announcement represents a vital component in Screen Scotland’s wider vision to drive ambitious growth across all aspects of the film and tv sector, Scotland has doubled its investment to £20million to increase our international competitiveness and better serve the local sector.

This doubling of resources and a shared strategic vision through the establishment of the new Screen Scotland partnership means Scotland is in a strong position for the country’s film and tv sector to fulfil its potential, and to create a highly attractive environment for indigenous and incoming creative companies and productions.

Robert Wilson, chair, Creative Scotland, said: “I speak on behalf of the Board of Creative Scotland when I say how pleased I am to have reached this milestone moment.

“A significant amount of work, from a large number of people, has enabled us to get to this stage. With the continued support of the Scottish Government, I’m delighted that we are now able to take this critical step in our continued support for the growth of Scotland’s screen sector, which goes from strength to strength.”

Notes to editors:

1. The tender is available here:

The deadline for submissions is 12 noon on 1 February 2019.

2. Following strategic, economic, commercial, operational and financial evaluation, 31 Bath Road has been identified which, after refurbishment, will provide the long-term facilities for a Film and TV studio.

  1. The configuration and any phasing of the refurbishment will be for the studio operator to agree with Screen Scotland, based on financial viability and the market opportunity. It is usual that a studio facility would comprise: Sound stages, workshop space, flexible space to use for wardrobe, make-up, editing, catering etc, office space and external backlot area.4. The aim of Screen Scotland is to create a studio facility that is leased to, refurbished by and operated by the private sector to the fullest extent possible. It is recognised, however, that due to the specialised nature of the property, there may be a requirement for public sector support. Screen Scotland is flexible as to the form in which any public sector funding may be provided to the successful applicant, provided that it complies with European Union rules on state aid. The types of funding that may be available include (but are not necessarily limited to) grants, loans and (potentially) equity investments.4. Timelines for the initial stages of the project are:* Publication of tender: 7 Dec 2018;* Deadline for notes of interest: 12 noon, 22 Jan, 2019;* Deadline for submissions: 12 noon, 1 Feb, 2019;* Identification of preferred partner: spring 2019; and* Announcement of successful operator: spring 2019

31 Bath Road is currently marketed as a potential screen production location in its present from by both Screen Scotland and The British Film Commission.

5. Latest available figures show that spend on film and TV in Scotland in 2017 reached £95 million – the highest level since records began – and a £26 million increase on the previous year. Over the past decade, spend has increased more than 300 per cent.

Film and TV productions shot in Scotland last year include Avengers: Infinity War, Outlaw King*, Outlander, Patrick Melrose, Mary Queen of Scots, The Cry*, The Victim*, Tell It To The Bees*, Freedom Fields*, Keepers*, Aquarela*, Wild Rose*, Ordeal By Innocence*, We Don’t Talk About Love*, Anna And The Apocalypse*, Beats*, Only You*, The Party’s Just Beginning. *denotes film and TV productions in receipt of Creative Scotland funding

6. About The Port of Leith

The Port of Leith is Scotland’s capital port, located in Edinburgh less than three miles from the city centre. Situated on the south side of the Firth of Forth, Leith is the largest enclosed deep water port in Scotland and has the capability to handle ships up to 50,000 DWT. It is an important economic generator for Scotland and works very closely with the city and its ambitions. The port is owned by Forth Ports Limited. Leith has been a port since at least the 12th century and is proud of its history. The port today is a modern, vibrant maritime gateway.  @forthports

7. Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland.  With £20 million from Scottish Government and the National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland and is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success.  @screenscots

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