Wimbledon Studios' future in doubt as landlord warns film complex could be sold
Friday 28 March 2014
The future of Wimbledon Studios is in jeopardy after its landlord warned the London TV and film complex could be sold unless a new external investor is found to upgrade the facilities.
Panther Securities boss Andrew Perloff said several million pounds are needed so the studios can host audience-based quiz and talent shows that bring in higher fees.
Wimbledon Studios’ present fare is lower-income dramas and comedies such as Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady and sitcom Grandma’s House.
David Beckham’s Only Fools And Horses sketch for Sport Relief was also recorded there.
“We don’t need to sell,” said Perloff, but Panther can no longer offer cut-price rent to the operating company that runs Wimbledon Studios — four years after Panther bought the site, the former home of The Bill.
Panther has had four expressions of interest. It is talking to several media firms which might inject cash or buy the freehold. But two non-media firms also want to redevelop the 220,000-square-foot site, which would be a blow as London is short of studios since the BBC shut White City and Teddington faces closure.
Perloff said Panther might accept “a slightly lower offer” to keep the studios “but if there’s a big difference in price, then we have to accept that”. Prices have jumped since Panther paid £5 million for the site in 2010. Piers Read, managing director of Wimbledon Studios, was optimistic he can win investment and plans to expand a “media village” that already houses 60 small
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