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A famous film studio in the UK is being transformed into a movie-inspired residential development, providing a new investment opportunity for overseas investors.
Weston Homes is converting Denham Film Laboratories in Buckinghamshire into an outstanding Art Deco and movie-inspired residential address at a cost of £120 million ($160 million).
The lab, which processed numerous Oscar-winning films over the years, was part of Denham Film Studios. The Grade II listed laboratory and head office, built in 1936 for film producer Alexander Korda, and its surrounding 11.94-acre site is now being transformed to create an exclusive residential address.
The new development will be known as the Denham Film Studios and will provide 224 converted and new homes; including 154 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and 70 four- and five-bedroom family townhouses.
Features within the new development will include a restored cinema with bar and a community hall/fitness space. The new properties are designed around garden squares, landscaped grounds, rill water features, private gardens and protected woodland complete with parking and garaging.
The main building will be converted into 49 apartments, around this will be two new green squares and communal gardens, bordered by three new four-storey apartment buildings providing 105 new homes. Around the eastern side of the site there will be avenues of new three and four-storey terraced housing, and to the northern section two and three-storey detached townhouses; all overlooking communal landscaping and private gardens.
The retained cinema will be refurbished and turned into a cinema theatre and club for residents, retaining an important link to the history of the site.
Reflecting the film studio history of the site, there will be movie themed glass artwork on the grounds etched with scenes from the famous movies produced at the film studios.
The Denham Film Studios and its main laboratories played a central role in Hollywood and British movie making for almost 80 years. In 1937 HM Queen Mary visited the recently completed studios and film laboratory, followed in 1938 by HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1939 the film studios and laboratories were acquired by the Rank Organisation which owned the rival Pinewood Film Studios in Iver Heath. The Rank Organisation decided to focus all film laboratory work at Denham, but the adjacent Film Studios Lots were closed in 1952 in favour of operations at Pinewood Film Studios.
The Film Laboratories are famous for their role in the production of some of the world’s most memorable movies and television programmes. In its heyday it was the largest and most advanced film laboratory outside of Hollywood, producing over 500 million feet of film per annum on site, with completed films distributed to cinemas around the world. During the 1930s over 1,200 people were employed at Denham and even into the late 1970s there were some 700 employees at the complex.
The Film Laboratories have been used by world famous film directors to process, edit and review their films including Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, Michael Winner, Sir Peter Jackson, Alexander Korda, Ewan McGregor and Ridley Scott.
Films produced and edited on site include Goodbye Mr Chips, Brief Encounter, Treasure Island, The Great Escape, Clash of the Titans, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Alien/Aliens, Tomorrow Never Dies, ET, Superman 1, 2 & 3, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Full Metal Jacket, Golden Eye, War Horse, Eyes Wide Shut, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall.
Bob Weston, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Weston Homes, said: “For almost 80 years the Denham Film Studios played a central role in the history of Hollywood and British movie making. With its iconic Art Deco centrepiece, the retained and restored cinema once used by Hollywood directors and its illustrious history this is without doubt the most exciting, glamorous and unique restoration projects Weston Homes has undertaken to date. Our vision at the Denham Film Studios is to create an Art Deco and movie inspired residential address within easy commuting distance of London via rail or road.”
The Denham Film Studios will formerly launch in spring 2017 with an on-site marketing suite, dressed show-apartment and restored cinema for visitors to view.
Prices have not been set but are anticipated to start from £350,000 rising to £1.5 million ($465,000 to $2 million).
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