Littlewoods Studio CGI 2
The higher education provider plans to create a technology entertainment centre at Littlewoods Studios

LJMU is next tenant for £54m Littlewoods revamp

Sarah Townsend

Liverpool John Moores University has agreed to occupy 75,000 sq ft at Capital & Centric’s redevelopment of the former Littlewoods pools building, which it plans to transform into a centre for the film and TV industry.

The deal will see LJMU co-locate alongside Twickenham Studios and provide a link between academia and industry through an ‘Entertainment Technology Centre’ described by the developer as the largest facility of its kind in the UK.

Twickenham Studios has signed to take 85,000 sq ft at the 750,000 sq ft scheme, and the letting to the higher education provider takes its to around 60-70% pre-let, according to Capital & Centric.

The developer hopes to launch a construction tender and start building works on site this year following a cash injection from the city region in July. The £54m project was selected to receive an initial £11m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, distributed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which will form part of a bigger, £17m funding package.

Capital & Centric had previously been forced to stall its plans for the scheme after the building was struck by a fire and an insurance claim had to be placed.

Littlewoods Film and TV Studios is intended to become a “Hollywood of the North” in Liverpool, according to the developer.

Under the letting, LJMU plans to create an Entertainment Technology Centre designed to equip local youngsters for a job in the region’s fast-growing film and TV industry.

LJMU will offer a range of further and higher education courses, and there are also plans to involve local schools through Capital & Centric’s ‘Brainery’ skills development initiative.

CBRE was the letting agent for the deal. The remaining 100,000 sq ft will include office accommodation for companies in the film, TV and digital sectors, as well as event space open to the public in the evenings, a café-bar and a 150-seat screening room.

LJMU’s vice-chancellor, Professor Ian Campbell, said: “Our intention is to keep Liverpool ahead of the game, so the combination of training and talent pool are a key part of the recipe.

“Our renowned Screen School [at the university] prepares professional film-makers, producers, digital artists, journalists and scriptwriters, and we will be working closely with our industry partners to ensure the talent pipeline supports this key sector in Liverpool’s economic future.

“The Screen School will have a new additional base at the [Littlewoods] complex and we shall shortly be announcing a new suite of undergraduate, postgraduate, post professional and short courses to open up new vistas in research and high-end skills for young people and help cater for the needs of these growing industries.”

Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, added:  “Getting an education partner on board has been what we’ve been waiting for and it will ensure that local people have the right skills to take advantage of the huge opportunities on offer.

“Clustering film and TV with education is something pretty unique and Littlewoods Studios will be the biggest facility of its kind in the UK.

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None of them like it when you challenge the status quo and try to dismiss you as a conspiracy theorist. Don’t be fooled, they know what they’re doing. That’s why Liverpool must divorce itself from the London and Manchester think tanks and have our own media. We need to make more noise and show them we will not be silenced.

By Michael McDonut

Hats off, fellas. Good work.

Now get cracking.

By Sceptical

Very welcome news for the industry to grow and develop here.

By Liverpolitis

Just excellent news ..i see Batman is currently being filmed in Liverpool now ,75% of the shots will be filmed within the City speaks volumes…….

By Liverwood

Major deal this for Liverpool. Good to have some positive news at the moment too. Well done Capital + Centric. This and Paddington Village are both great developments that will change this part of the city.

By Derek

I didn’t see that coming, universities must have been hit hard with falling overseas student numbers, in that context this is a big vote of confidence

By Clare Taylor

Lets hope its more successful than UA92 education tie up in Old Trafford – with the brilliant C&C team behind it I’ve no doubt it will …

By TheFuture

In a beautiful part of the city within a close proximity to the Wavertree Botanic Gardens.

By Liverpool romance

I’m still doubtful about not just Littlewoods but Bradley Moore Dock and the Liner Terminal. Tim Heatley is taking on an awful lot, what with: £450m of development in Manchester, Manchester Round Table, Manchester homeless and Littlewoods. Good luck anyway, mate

By George

Is this even a C&C scheme anymore. Seems more like a Combined Authority and City Council development with a C&C badge?

By Bunkered

Hollywood Bollywood Pinewood Littlewoods. Living the dream.

By Anonymous

Amazing well done

By David

Some good news. Likely be some strange comments on here.

By George

They will hate Liverpool even more down the M62 more global coverage for a world famous City

By Anonymous

BOOM!!!!!!

By Anonymous

Is there nobody local who could have done the job.

By Liverpool Parochial

Great biulding in a world class venue

By Anonymous

“ receive an initial £11m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, distributed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority”
So it’s central government run by the conservatives that are pumping money into liverpool for education, training and job creation – great news

By Stuart wood

Really impressed with this, great news for Lpool. Thats what I like about Capital & Centric, they take a path less trodden (and take some stick for it too) but they do make for a fantastic scheme, can’t wait to see this place open.

By Mike Lynch

Hollywood of the North at Littlewoods. Perfect! And John Moores University are the perfect partner. John Moores created Littlewoods with all the p’zaz of a film set at his art deco palace on Edge Lane. And he had humanity, his staff famously were encouraged to enjoy their Friday afternoons when John Moores would put on entertainment to lead them into their weekend.

By Red Squirrel

This and along with the passport office I sometimes ponder on city favouritism and think Liverpool just might be government favourites?

By Anonymous

The city has an energy and a belief in itself that is of Liverpool and comes from Liverpool. It’s got nothing to do with government.
Let’s see the old Botanic Gardens restored next door.

By Liverpolitan

I think that’s around 60% of the space taken now, it makes sense to get this up and running asap with the likes of Batman, Harry Potter and Fast and Furious etc filming here. We’re popular with Hollywood even without this but this would be the icing on the cake.

By Anonymous

For anyone viewing these comments Michael McDonut is a manchester-based poster who continually posts crap about Liverpool city region in a whole host of various guises.

By Chris

Splendid news and feels like a natural fit.

Just one gripe with LJMU…as a part-time PhD student there I had my first visit back onto the LJMU campus earlier this week and, dear me, what a dirty place. I won’t name the particular building but the carpets are still shocking and the general internal fabric is so grotty.

By North by North-West