Plans are being prepared and designs are being drawn for a massive new, world-class film and production studio in Langley, B.C., that will be the largest in Canada and one of the biggest in North America.
The 600,000-square-foot facility, being built by Martini Film Studios (MFS), is planned for an 80-acre parcel of property in an area known as 216 Langley Business Park.
The property, at Highway 1 and 216th Street in the Walnut Grove area of Langley, is mostly scrub land just a stone’s throw from the Trans-Canada Highway, with a nearby interchange providing freeway access and visibility.
As proposed, the ambitious project will feature several purpose-built soundstages, offices and production support buildings erected across more than 25 acres in the 80-acre business park. The rest of the property will feature retail, office and warehouse space totaling more than one million square feet.
The build marks the region’s first major studio development since MFS first opened the doors to 250,000 square feet of combined studio facilities two years ago in a former window manufacturing site on 96 Avenue.
The new hub will be the first big, new, purpose-built film and television production studio in the region in about two decades. Other studio facilities have opened over the years but have mostly been warehouse conversions. There’s about 3.5 million square feet of production space in the Vancouver area.
Upon completion, MFS will more than triple its current capacity and become the largest provider of film studio facilities in the Lower Mainland.
“We’ve enjoyed phenomenal support from our industry partners and the entertainment community since launching Martini Film Studios,” Gemma Martini, founder and CEO of the company, said in a statement.
“It’s been an incredible experience. Space is in huge demand, and with the industry thriving and the growth potential for the film and television business across all of B.C., we’re proud to expand our services for the sector.”
The development is currently undergoing design and planning based on industry and client consultation. Officials at the studio aren’t yet ready to release more information on the build, nor have they provided a timeline on when construction of the new facility might begin. However, they expect to be able to provide more accurate and comprehensive information on the project in the new year.
The new studio development is expected to raise Greater Vancouver’s film capacity by as much as 15 per cent. The region is currently home to about two million square feet of film-ready soundstage space. Soundstage space is in demand because film production spending in the province continues to rise.
The campus will dedicate at least 300,000 square feet to soundstages – a significant infusion of new stock.
David Shepheard, director of the Vancouver Film Commission, said the new space is necessary because the region is one of the world’s top film hubs and continues to be a great draw for international production.
“Landmark facilities like Martini Film Studios are an incredible boon to Vancouver’s film industry. The development of cutting-edge infrastructure is vital to maintaining our position as a top global film hub.”
The industry attracts billions of dollars of investment every year and creates thousands of diverse jobs for the local community, he noted.
According to research from the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), the film industry added $$3.8 billion to the local economy in 2018. The same research found that the industry has added $18.7 billion to the local economy since 2012, including $10.2 billion in wages paid directly to British Columbians.
B.C. is now the third largest production centre in North America, behind California and New York State. According to Creative BC, there were 452 productions during the 2017-18 fiscal year, compared to 338 the year before, and the total production spend increased 33 per cent to $3.4 billion during the same period.