Hollywood on alert as Limerick movie studio gets go-ahead

Site of old Dell plant scouted by major producers ahead lease to Troy Studios

Stock photograph from 2009 shows the old Dell buildings at the Rhaeen industrial estate in Limerick. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Stock photograph from 2009 shows the old Dell buildings at the Rhaeen industrial estate in Limerick. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Limerick’s ambition to attract major Hollywood stars may soon be realised with confirmation that an agreement has finally been signed paving the way for an international film studio for the city.

Limerick City and County Council has confirmed that it has signed heads of agreement with a newly established company, Troy Studios, subject to planning permission, for a long-term lease of the former Dell factory in Limerick.

The local authority recently confirmed the €6m purchase of the 350,000 square foot facility previously used as The Culture Factory for Limerick City of Culture 2014.

The intention is for Troy Studios to be a fully-fledged leading studio facility to cater for film and TV productions by the end of 2016, according to a statement released today.

“We’re delighted to be working with Troy Studios in facilitating the company in its plans to establish a significant media hub for film and television production in Limerick,” commented Conn Murray, Chief Executive, Limerick City and County Council.

Mr Murray continued: “This is an extremely welcome development as it presents a diverse range of opportunities for the wider arts, crafts and culture sector in the region, and particularly those undertaking third level digital media courses in Limerick.”

Today’s announcement follows earlier plans to lease the building to Ardmore Studios in Wicklow.

Troy Studios is a newly established company by Ardmore’s CEO Siún Ní Raghallaigh.

Ossie Kilkenny - a joint owner of the Bray-based studio - and John Kelleher are also directors of the new company, established for the purposes of motion picture and video production at Plassey Technological Park, Limerick, according to documents lodged with the CRO.

In additional to some 70,000 square feet of sound studios, it is anticipated that Troy Studios will also become home to a media cluster of companies providing services to support film and TV production on site.

An application for planning permission for a change of use for the former Dell site is about to be submitted and if approved will, post-refurbishment, provide a total of 340,000 square feet of high specification sound studio and support facilities for film and television productions.

According to Siún Ní Raghallaigh, director, Troy Studios, today’s announcement is significant for its plans to establish a significant media hub for film and television production in the near future.

“The availability of appropriate full service studio space in the country is a restraining factor for Ireland’s audio visual sector’s growth.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction to redress that imbalance. The establishment of Troy Studios will assist Ireland take advantage of the 30 per cent growth in global creative audio visual content predicted for the next five years.

Troy Studios will add 70,000 square feet of studio space to the existing 110,000 square feet of sound studio space that already exists in Ireland. It is an exciting initiative and we look forward to progressing plans with Limerick City and County Council to bring this project to fruition and place Limerick on the international map as a new film location.”

Confirmation of the long term lease to Troy Studios follows a recent visit by Hollywood producer Philip Lee to Limerick to scout it out as a possible location for a $120m science fiction movie due to be filmed next year.

The movie which is called Inversion is a science fiction film in which life on earth is threatened by a gradual loss of gravity.

The movie is due to be directed by Scott Waugh whose last film Need for Speed grossed over $200m since its release last year.

It’s understood the visit by four Hollywood movie producers to Limerick earlier this year added an urgency to the sale of the former Dell building which was visited by thousands as The Culture Factory venue for Limerick City of Culture 2014.

The agreement will now accelerate the development of the studio hub, which could create “750 new jobs and a commercial spin off of €70m for the local economy,” according to the recent chief executive’s report to the Limerick City and County Council.