The future of Auckland Film Studios Ltd (AFS) in Henderson will see the facility remain a cornerstone of the Auckland region’s screen production proposition – both domestically and internationally – for the short-to-medium term, while other new sound stages come on stream in Auckland.
ATEED is pleased to be able to provide this assurance, given how AFS has been an important part in the development of Auckland's thriving screen sector.
Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance Committee (all councillors) considered the future of AFS at its 26 July meeting – based on a proposal presented by Auckland Investment Office (a unit within Council).
After deliberation, the councillors voted to accept an option which essentially involves:
· the shares in AFS being transferred to Council (from current owner, the CCO Auckland Council Investments Ltd)
· the responsibility for the site (land and buildings) being vested in CCO Panuku Development Auckland, which will eventually use the land as part of the future re-development of Henderson
· ATEED entering into a multi-year operating lease for the studio complex to ensure continuity.
At the meeting, the committee sought and received an assurance from AIO Executive Director John Duncan that some of the cash reserves held by AFS will be spent on bringing the facility up to an acceptable standard for screen production tenants.
Panuku Development Auckland’s ‘Unlock Henderson’ plan has a timeframe of 5-8 years, but a lease term between ATEED and Panuku is yet to be fully discussed.
An initial meeting between ATEED and AIO has been held, and immediate work is planned between ATEED, AFS and Panuku to discuss a seamless transition – including a timeframe, a suitable lease period, and the way to determine maintenance and upgrades required to ensure AFS remains highly marketable.
ATEED intend to consult with key industry users of AFS when considering upgrades and other aspects of AFS’ ongoing operation under ATEED.
In terms of the bigger infrastructure picture, updates will continue to be provided on the ongoing development of the Kumeu Film Studios site established through the landmark agreement with the New Zealand Film Commission, Warner Bros and Gravity Pictures.
Construction material is arriving on site daily for two new 2500 sq m purpose-built sound stages which are due for completion early next year. For those who don’t know, each of the stages being funded and built by the private land owner is bigger than the 2000 sq m Studio 5 at Henderson.
When you add the 5000 sq m of new sound stages to the 13,500 sq m of refurbished buildings already on site, the 27ha Kumeu facility ATEED is leasing and operating long-term represents a substantial increase in Auckland’s production infrastructure.
ATEED hope the details above provide an assurance that Auckland Council remains committed to helping grow Auckland’s screen production sector, which is hugely important to the regional economy with nearly $1 billion annually from production and post-production revenue –supporting thousands of jobs, and hundreds of businesses.
Via ATEED, Council will focus its investment on supporting the industry through leasing and operating studio facilities, and supporting the growth of screen industry clusters.
ATEED’s Screen Auckland production attraction team has a number of ‘live’ inquiries and pencil holds on the sound stages. Occupancy of AFS for the past two years has been especially good, and expectations are high that further production work will be secured in the near future.
To reiterate, ATEED understand the delicate screen industry production ecosystem made up of AFS, Kumeu Film Studios, Studio West, South Pacific Pictures, Kelly Park and many smaller facilities. All are key components of Auckland’s screen production infrastructure proposition which Screen Auckland works with the New Zealand Film Commission and the private sector to market.
ATEED will provide a further update when they have more information to share. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Brook, Manager Screen Auckland (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will do their best to provide answers.
GM Business Attraction & Investment,
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development