Hammerlake Studios gets approval to build largest studio in Ireland

The impressive new complex in Westmeath County near Dublin will have eleven sound stages

By Priyanca Rajput 19 Jul 2022

Hammerlake Studios gets approval to build largest studio in Ireland
Credit: CGI visual, Hammerlake Studios

Hammerlake Studios is set to build Ireland's largest sustainable film and television studios, situated less than an hour from Dublin.

Following the company's application in May this year, the Westmeath County Council approved predominant plans to develop a film, TV and content production campus to attract major Hollywood and other global projects to the country.

Full completion will take place over two phases: Phase one, totalling 236,000 square feet, will comprise four studios or sound stages for large-scale film and TV production, an administrative building, workshops, data technology centres, editing rooms, food, fitness and other amenities. 

Construction of phase one will be developed over 12 months — with film production set to start from the first quarter of 2024. 350 production jobs and 300 construction jobs will be created in phase one.

Phase two, which will be submitted for planning approval in summer 2023, will see an additional seven studios added to the campus, totalling 460,000 square feet. The company estimates a minimum of 1,000 production jobs will be created after completion of phase two in 2025.  

The final part of the planning application is subject to material contravention of the County Development Plan, which will see final approval in September, 2022.

The design of the new studio will welcome creative technologies - including virtual capabilities - to facilitate large-scale and high-end digital productions. It will be developed on a 25-acre site at Lough Sheever Corporate Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath — under an hour from Dublin Airport and adjacent to the M4 motorway.

An estimated €50m will be generated annually for the local Mullingar economy from phase one of the studio, with hospitality and other local services and businesses expected to benefit.

Welcoming the announcement, Paul Chesney, chief executive officer of Hammerlake Studios said: “We are excited by the decision by Westmeath County Council to grant us planning in principle. It represents 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. 

“The Hammerlake Studios campus will showcase the beauty and welcome of Ireland and its local community, along with the scale and landscape of a vibrant working studio, where content makers will want to work time and time again. Ours will not just be a functional service oriented working studio, but a destination that delivers everything a production entity will ever need, from creative support, technology and equipment, secure data capabilities, along with first class catering and off-stage filming capability all in one campus.

Chesney added: “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.”

Regarding sustainability, the studios’ design will be equipped for 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. Solar panels on site will reduce grid dependency, while any required electricity will be from green sources.

Speaking about its approach, Tom Dowling, director of development and studio operations at Hammerlake Studios, said: “We sincerely thank our design team and everyone who has assisted us in making the planning application. Our plans have received tremendous support from the local Chamber of Commerce, political leaders and the Westmeath County Council. 

“While Ireland has three relatively large studio facilities in the Republic of Ireland, the global demand for studio space has been exceptionally high in recent years.  Mullingar’s close proximity to Dublin, its excellent road and rail network, the young workforce and the range of quality hotels matched our criteria for the location of our new sustainable and green film campus. 

Downling added: “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 presents an incredible opportunity for Mullingar and we can’t wait to start.”

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