US owner of Ardmore to develop film and TV campus in Greystones

Project will double Ireland’s studio capacity and lead to 1,500 new jobs when finished

The American consortium that acquired Ardmore and Troy studios last year has been selected to develop a major new film and television studio campus in Greystones.

California-based Hackman Capital Partners and its partner, Square Mile Capital Management, were named on Thursday as the chosen developer of the €300 million project, which is a joint venture with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, Ireland's sovereign development fund, and Capwell, a Sisk family investment vehicle. Planning for the complex was granted early last year.

The consortium bought Ardmore in Bray, Co Wicklow, and Troy Studios in the former Dell plant in Limerick last year from Irish-led group Olcott Entertainment, in a deal understood to be worth $100 million (€92 million).

When fully developed, Greystones Media Campus will be Ireland's largest studio complex. It will have more than 670,000sq ft of studio space on a 44-acre site outside the Co Wicklow town. The first seven of 14 proposed sound stages, along with associated office, workshop and backlot spaces, are expected to be ready for business by mid-2024.


Double capacity

Hackman said the development will double the high-end film and television stage capacity in Ireland “to help meet current tenant demand as a growing number of international and domestic productions are vying for existing space”.

Hackman owns 90 sound stages and seven production campuses in a $7 billion property portfolio heavily weighted towards studio properties.

The MBS Group, Hackman’s studio operator affiliate, will assist in the design of the purpose-built studio and oversee studio operations when the complex is up and running, including the provision of production services and equipment rentals.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe welcomed the “significant investment” into Ireland’s audio-visual industry which, he said, was currently worth €1 billion to the Irish economy and employed 12,000 people. The new development in Greystones will be a major boost for the Irish creative economic sector and will contribute to creating 1,500 new jobs once it is operational.

“On the back of what has been a record-breaking year for spend on TV and film production in Ireland, this level of investment will serve to enhance Ireland’s reputation as a location for high quality production.”

Premier destination

Hackman Capital founder Michael Hackman said the consortium was delighted to be expanding its footprint in Ireland.

“We see Ireland as a premier destination for content creators across the globe, and we’re committed to seeing it grow exponentially,” he said. “There is enormous talent here, not to mention a stunning landscape and some of the industry’s best financial incentives for filmmakers.”

Square Mile Capital chief executive Craig Solomon said the demand for modern, well-run studio facilities in Ireland was very strong and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

“Overall, the world’s appetite for high-quality film and TV content shows no sign of slowing and we believe that the Greystones Media Campus has great potential,” he said.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times