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In a significant stride towards rejuvenating Sunderland’s industrial legacy, Crown Works Studio, designed by 4D Studio Architects, has submitted plans to become the largest film studio in the North East of England.

Spearheaded by Fulwell 73 and Cain International, this ambitious project promises to be a game-changer for the region, marrying the city’s rich industrial history with a new era of cinematic innovation.

Sunderland, a city that once thrived on shipbuilding and industrial prowess, faced economic challenges when these industries declined. The proposed Crown Works Studios aim to transform a significant brownfield site on the south bank of the River Wear, once home to Grove Cranes, into a thriving contemporary hub for film and high-end TV production.

The Crown Works Studio is not merely a cinematic venture; it’s a potential economic powerhouse. Predicted to generate £759 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) annually, with £336 million contributing to the North East, the studio is forecasted to create over 8,000 jobs in the region. This infusion of economic vitality is set to breathe new life into Sunderland and redefine its cultural and economic landscape.

View of Soundstages

The Vision: Sunderland as a Global Film Hub

View of the Gateway Building

The proposed studio, spanning an impressive 154,215 square meters, will house 19 soundstages, production offices, workshops, management offices, a vendors village, and a training academy. 4D Studio Architects envisions not only a state-of-the-art facility but also a cultural landmark that signifies Sunderland’s importance on the global film stage.

The studio’s location on the banks of the River Wear aims to create an inspiring environment, promoting the health and well-being of its occupants while preserving the natural habitat along the river. This holistic approach seeks to make the studio not just a workplace but a community hub fostering creativity and skill development.

Fulwell 73’s Perspective: Putting Sunderland on the Global Map

Production offices facing the River Wear

In a joint statement, the partners at Fulwell 73 expressed their belief that Crown Works Studio will elevate the region to a global production destination. This studio, they argue, presents a unique opportunity to attract high-end productions to the UK, solidifying Sunderland’s place in the international film and TV industry. 

Situated on a 33-hectare plot, the studio’s location holds a rich industrial history, once a thriving area for shipbuilding and repair works. The site, previously occupied by Grove Cranes, has undergone extensive civil engineering works during the development of the iconic Northern Spire Bridge. The project’s regeneration aspect not only rejuvenates the site but also contributes to the broader urban renewal of Sunderland.

Led by 4D Studio Architects and supported by a consortium of professionals, the project is estimated to cost £450 million, with a completion date set for 2027. The studio’s construction is anticipated to commence in 2024, marking a significant milestone in Sunderland’s journey towards becoming a cinematic and economic powerhouse.

Crown Works Studio symbolises more than just a film and TV production facility. It represents Sunderland’s resilience, adaptability, and determination to reinvent itself in the face of economic challenges. As the largest studio complex outside of London and the South East, Crown Works is poised not only to create a cinematic legacy but also to reshape the narrative of the UK’s screen industries. once renowned for its shipbuilding prowess, Sunderland is now set to shine as a leader in the global film and TV production arena.

Single storey Production Workshops

Two Storey Production Workshops

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