Friday 24 November 2017

New major film studio at Limerick's former Dell factory gets green light

Limerick City and County Council bought former Dell plant
Limerick City and County Council bought former Dell plant

Paul O'Donoghue

Limerick is set for a major new film studio after Limerick council confirmed that it has signed a deal with Troy Studios for a long term lease of the former Dell Factory in Limerick.

The proposed studio facilities in Limerick include the use of the 340,000 sq ft building in Castletroy, previously used as The Culture Factory for Limerick City of Culture 2014.  The intention is for Troy Studios to be a fully-fledged leading studio facility to cater for film and TV productions by the end of Q2 2016.

In additional to some 70,000 sq. feet of sound studios, it is anticipated that Troy Studios will also become home to a media cluster of companies providing services to support film and TV production on site. 

An application for planning permission for a change of use for the former Dell site is about to be submitted and if approved will, post-refurbishment, provide a total of 340,000 sq. feet of high specification sound studio and support facilities for film and television productions.

The council agreed to buy the building for €5.5m in May, but negotiations on the purchase have since been ongoing, causing a delay in the project moving forward.

It was initially expected that Ireland's biggest film company Ardmore Studios was to lease the building from the council. However, it is understood that many of those involved in Ardmore, including Ardmore CEO Siún Ní Raghallaigh, are involved in the new firm.

Ms Ní Raghallaigh, who is also the director of Troy Studios said: “The availability of appropriate full service studio space in the country is a restraining factor for Ireland’s audio visual sector’s growth. Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction to redress that imbalance.  

“The establishment of Troy Studios will assist Ireland take advantage of the 30pc growth in global creative audio visual content predicted for the next five years. Troy Studios will add 70,000 sq. feet of studio space to the existing 110,000 sq. feet of sound studio space that already exists in Ireland.  

“It is an exciting initiative and we look forward to progressing plans with Limerick City and County Council to bring this project to fruition and place Limerick on the international map as a new film location.

Limerick City and County Council chief executive Conn Murray added: “We’re delighted to be working with Troy Studios in facilitating the company in its plans to establish a significant media hub for film and television production in Limerick.

"This is an extremely welcome development as it presents a diverse range of opportunities for the wider arts, crafts and culture sector in the region, and particularly those undertaking third level digital media courses in Limerick."

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys said the Irish film and TV sector is in a phase of rapid expansion.

"This additional studio space will help the sector here to attract further major productions to Ireland, and will also provide an avenue to allow the domestic market to grow.

“The audio visual sector is employment intensive, supporting up to 6,000 jobs. It is underpinned by the Government’s tax relief scheme, Section 481, which was enhanced in last year’s Budget. I am committed to working with the industry to encourage further growth.

“There is very positive momentum in the Irish film and TV sector, which I am keen to maintain and support. Today’s announcement follows the news earlier this summer that Pinewood Studios, one of the biggest film makers in the world, is setting up an office here.

“I would like to congratulate Limerick City and County Council and Ardmore Studios for their pragmatic approach in bringing this project to fruition. Ireland is already attracting some of the world’s biggest TV shows and films, such as Penny Dreadful, Vikings and Star Wars. When these shows come to Ireland, they hire local talent and crews and make a huge contribution to the local economy. The development of state-of-the-art studio space in Limerick will only enhance Ireland’s reputation as a world class production location.”

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