Sunderland College has welcomed news of the exciting plans to build a major TV and film complex on the banks of the River Wear.
FulwellCain Studios, a joint venture between global entertainment company Fulwell 73 and Cain International, has announced plans for Crown Works in Sunderland which will transform the city’s economy and create more than 8,000 jobs across the North East over the next decade.
The development – which requires support from Government to go ahead – will be built in Pallion, an area of Sunderland which played a critical role throughout the industrial revolution, when the city was a shipbuilding powerhouse.
Subject to planning processes, Crown Works Studios will cover an area of 1.68m sq ft, with 20 premium sound stages suitable for major feature film and HETV productions, making it one of the largest filmmaking complexes in Europe.
The development will complement outstanding facilities at the University of Sunderland’s St Peter’s Campus as well as a new state-of-the-art media hub at Bede Campus which will expand the Sunderland College’s T Level provision into media, broadcast and TV and radio production.
Supported by the T Level Capital Fund, the investment will include new filming, editing and production workshops, designed to look and feel like the working environments students would expect to encounter during their placements.
Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, of which Sunderland College is a part, said: “This is fantastic news for the city which will position Sunderland as a leader in the film, TV, broadcast and creative industries.
“The potential of the sector in the city and wider region is enormous. The development of new industry-standard facilities at Bede Campus and launch of our T Level provision aligns our skills strategy with city-wide developments such as Crown Works Studios and Shipyard Studios which will create a hotbed for broadcast, content creating and film making talent who will have substantial opportunities to forge careers in the North East.”
The plans for Crown Works Studios are being described by city leaders as ‘the single most significant development announcement to come out of the north-east in decades’ and will build on Fulwell 73’s existing presence in the city. The scheme will be delivered in three phases, with work set to start in 2023 and the final phase set to complete by 2027.
Leo Pearlman, managing partner at Fulwell 73, which is known for Netflix hit Sunderland ‘Til I Die as well as The Late Late Show with James Corden, said: “Fulwell is a company built on family and the north-east is embedded in our DNA. For over 100 years my family had a business here in Sunderland and called this great city home, so to be able to bring Fulwell back to where the inspiration for our global entertainment company began is a truly humbling experience.
“Through delivering the studios, we will create a long-term production industry infrastructure, attract even more significant high-end production to the UK and ensure that future generations of north east talent can develop and prosper at home within the region.”
The project is supported by Sunderland City Council, which has brought together a number of key partners to work with the investors to shape plans including around the development of the skills-base needed to support the scheme.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “These are absolutely unparalleled proposals that – if approved – will reinvent the Sunderland economy, establishing the city as home to a modern and growing industry that will create jobs and opportunities for thousands of people across the north east.
“This is a vote of confidence for the city and its people – recognising Sunderland’s history of innovation and of making things. We have been working on these plans with Fulwell 73 and Cain for many months, so it’s absolutely brilliant to finally be in position to unveil them, and to demonstrate the scale of ambition we have for this city. It’s absolutely transformational and something we’re determined to see through.”
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