Scotland’s Outlander studio complex sold to American film consortium
Film industry giants have swooped to snap up Scotland’s biggest studio complex, where the hit time-travel show Outlander has been made for the last years.
Wardpark Studios, in Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, has joined the growing studio portfolio being amassed by a powerful industry consortium.
It announced plans to create London’s biggest film and TV studio last year and has just two acquired Ireland’s two biggest studios.
The deal for Wardpark involves the California-based property group Hackman Capital Partners (HCP), its studio operator affiliate, the MBS Group, and New York-based investment house Square Mile Capital Partners.
Wardpark has been transformed under the stewardship of property developer Terry Thomson, who agreed a deal for the former warehouse complex to become home to Outlander in 2013.
The complex boasts more than 200,000 sq ft of studio space across a 14-acre campus, which includes five sound stages, production offices, workshops and an external green screen.
The success of the show, which has just been renewed for a seventh season, has been instrumental in the development of further studio facilties in Bathgate, Leith and Glasgow in recent years.
Michael Hackman, founder of Hackman Capital Partners, said: “We’re thrilled to be adding Wardpark to our distinguished portfolio and
excited to be entering the Scottish production market.
“Wardpark has been a strong catalyst for growth in the country’s creative sector and Scotland has become an important filming destination for international content creators, thanks in part to its lush landscape and scenery and competitive tax credits, as well as its top talent pool.”
Square Mile capital chief executive Craig Soloman said: “This acquisition of Wardpark Studios will prove to be a great addition to our partnership’s ownership and operating platform of world-class studio properties.
“We look forward to participating in, and contributing to the further growth of the Scottish entertainment industry, as the global demand for high-quality film and TV content shows no sign of slowing.”
Mr Thomson, chairman of Wardpark Studios, said: “Scotland has a long history as a location for filmmaking, and this announcement cements my ambition to further establish Scotland as one of the major global hubs for the production of film and high-end TV drama.
"The demand is unstoppable, but we have to compete in a global market to attract inward productions, and bringing HCP and MBS on board is the first step in the further growth of the industry in Scotland.”
The sale of the Outlander studio has been hailed by the Scottish Government has “a reflection of the growing confidence in Scotland as a world-class, film- and TV-making destination.”
Scottish culture secretary Angus Robertson said: “Wardpark Film and Television Studios play an important role in our vibrant and fast-growing
screen industry, and Hackman Capital Partners and The MBS Group will further promote this first-class production facility to the international market.
“Scotland’s studios, including Wardpark, offer excellent training and apprenticeship opportunities to the many young people who are attracted to careers in production.
"We’re committed to developing our screen infrastructure to capitalise on the unprecedented interest in bringing international productions to Scotland and to grow a sustainable creative economy.”