Hammerlake Studios is set to be Ireland’s largest film, television and content studio and will create over 1,000 jobs upon completion in 2025.
Anew Irish film studio that is expected to produce movies and shows for the global market has been granted planning permission in Mullingar.
The application to build the film production facility on a 25-acre site at Lough Sheever Corporate Park in Mullingar was submitted by Hammerlake Studios in May. It has been approved by Westmeath County Council on July 12.
With 460,000 square feet of studio space, Hammerlake Studios is set to be Ireland’s largest film, television and content studio and will create over 1,000 jobs upon completion in 2025. These plans are still subject to a vote by the local council in September.
Construction of the project that has been hailed as “transformative” for the region by Mullingar Chamber of Commerce will take place over two phases.
Phase one, which will include four studios or ‘sound stages’, workshops, administrative building, technology centres and editing rooms is expected to last 12 months. 300 construction jobs will be created during development.
An additional seven studios will be constructed during phase two, which will be submitted for planning approval next summer, bringing the total footprint to 460,000 square feet.
Film production operations are to start in the first quarter of 2024.
Investors include Irish and UK film industry experts with work experience at Universal Pictures, Disney and Troy Studios. Executive film producers from North America also advised on campus layout and design.
According to Hammerlake executives, local and national businesses, services, education and creative arts professionals will benefit enormously from the project, which will generate an estimated €50 million for the local economy annually. Hospitality and other local services and businesses will benefit as well.
Paul Chesney, CEO of Hammerlake Studios, told RTÉ News that the approval from Westmeath County Council marks “a significant step forward in our plans to build a world-class film and content production facility in Mullingar, one capable of accommodating the biggest and best film productions.
He added: “Ours will not just be a functional service oriented working studio, but a destination that delivers everything a production entity will ever need. As new broadcast platforms continue to announce international expansion plans, it’s an exciting time to be part of this industry and our chosen destination is primed to be a lead player and preferred option for content makers everywhere.”
Hammerlake Studios pursues a sustainable design, including insulated building fabric to decrease heat loss, mechanical and smart technology systems to ensure minimal operational energy consumption, water saving and harvesting equipment, low power density lighting and electric vehicle charging. The site will also use solar power to reduce dependency on the grid.
According to director of development and studio operations, Tom Dowling, Ireland currently has three large studio facilities but demand has dramatically increased in recent years.
Major Irish film studios include Ardmore in Co Wicklow and Troy in Co Limerick.
Dowling said: “While Ireland’s audio-visual sector industry has enormous growth potential, skills and talent development are crucial to its continued success. In tandem with developing our new studio, we will facilitate a series of information evenings from September to identify people in the region with a transferable skillset and arrange training in conjunction with training agencies.
“Hammerlake Studios present an incredible opportunity for Mullingar and we can’t wait to start.”
Recent data by Screen Ireland shows that 2021 broke production spend records across film, television drama, documentary and animation in Ireland, with the €500 million spent on production last year marking a 40 per cent increase on the previous record set in 2019.