Shinfield Studios deal brings Hollywood to Reading

The University of Reading has entered into an agreement with affiliates of Commonwealth Real Estate LP, a film studios investor based in Los Angeles, for a long lease of land at the University’s Thames Valley Science Park campus, Berkshire, which will see the development of a major film studios and creative media campus.

Following consultation with the local community, the campus will be known as Shinfield Studios, and is expected to open, subject to planning approval, in late 2022. The studios will bring major Hollywood film productions to the UK, creating around 1,500 new jobs, and supporting up to 1,500 further indirect jobs.

The scheme represents a significant investment in the British film and creative industries and is expected to create £500m of annual inward investment to the UK. The studios and associated creative and digital hub will provide new opportunities for people and businesses in the region, as well as for young people from a wide range of backgrounds, including students and graduates of the University of Reading, looking for opportunities in the growing creative and entertainment industries.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said:
“We are delighted that this agreement has been reached, which will bring welcome significant Hollywood investment, creativity and job opportunities to Reading, Wokingham and the wider Thames Valley. It is a credit to the hard work and determination of everyone involved to have concluded a transaction while negotiating through challenging restrictions on movement and travel. This lease presents a superb opportunity for the University and facilitates an exciting development for the wider community, and we look forward to Commonwealth bringing their vision to life.”

Nick Smith, Managing Director of Shinfield Studios, said:
“Britain has an enviable array of filmmaking talent, but the industry is short of high-quality studio facilities capable of catering for the new and emerging technologies that will form the core of television and film production in the future.
“This development costing over £200 million will create a new powerhouse of creative production and new talent, as well as generating up to 3,000 new jobs.
“Completing this exciting transaction is a big step forward and we look forward to ongoing consultation and engagement with all local stakeholders as this project advances.”

Adam Fisher, Commonwealth Founder and Chief Investment Officer (CIO), said:
“We are very excited about the prospect of investing in the UK creative industries as one of the most vibrant markets in the world. We look forward to building partnerships across Wokingham and Reading to make this project a resounding success. Our ambitions for the new studio will be of real benefit to the local economy and the UK as a whole.”

Minister for investment, Gerry Grimstone said:
“From film, advertising and TV to visual effects, design and publishing, the UK is home to world-leading creative industries and it’s fantastic to see our talent recognised globally. This new investment from the United States has the ambition to create 3,000 jobs and bring top class facilities to Wokingham and Reading – a huge boost to the local economy and win-win for the nation.
“A trade deal with the US can unlock even more exciting opportunities for our creative industries and further inward investment is vital as we build back better from Covid-19.”

Cllr John Halsall, Leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said:
“This is very welcome news for people in Wokingham and the wider region. Wokingham has a strong record of supporting world-class businesses, including existing links with the film industry. We look forward to providing everyone involved with the opportunity to put their plans and views forward as part of our usual rigorous planning process.”

In the meantime, further information can be found on the website via www.tvsp.co.uk.
Ends
Contact for further media information:
Pete Castle
Press office, University of Reading
pressoffice@reading.ac.uk
+44 (0)118 378 5757

Notes to Editors
University of Reading
The University of Reading is a research-driven global university with strengths in the environment, health, business and arts. Its Department for Film, Theatre and Television provides a unique practical and theoretical approach to the study of screen and stage. The department is based in the purpose-built Minghella Studios at the University’s award-winning Whiteknights campus. www.reading.ac.uk

Commonwealth Real Estate LP
Commonwealth Real Estate LP (“CWRE”) is the Real Estate division of Commonwealth Asset Management Holdings LLC, a Los Angeles-based asset management platform founded in June 2019 and led by Adam Fisher, the former Head of Global Macro and Real Estate at Soros Fund Management LLC and the former founder and CIO of Commonwealth Opportunity Capital, GP LLC.

CWRE targets large-scale real estate transactions in sectors with strong tailwinds that can be harnessed through its creative, long-term investment philosophies. CWRE is currently developing film and television studios in Los Angeles, California and Atlanta, Georgia, with the backing of private investors, including UK-based financier Alan Howard.

Thames Valley Science Park
TVSP, fully owned by the University of Reading on land beside the M4 motorway in Shinfield, Berkshire, provides state-of-the-art space for modern business and high-tech companies, with links to the University’s core areas of teaching, research and innovation. www.tvsp.co.uk

Studio Need
In their “UK Film & TV Property Market Report 2018” Lambert Smith Hampton estimated that an additional 1.8 million square feet of studio space will be required by 2025.

Nick Smith Biography
Nick is a highly regarded studios facilities executive who has successfully planned, operated and marketed premier studio facilities in many of the world’s key global production markets. With more than 25 years in the industry, Nick previously served as Executive Commercial Director on the board of Pinewood-Shepperton plc for over a decade where he transformed the studios from a heritage business into the leading global studio facilities brand, with owned or licensed operations in the UK, USA, Canada, Malaysia and the Dominican Republic.