Wimbledon Studios under threat as investment needed to upgrade
The future of Wimbledon Studios hangs in the balance as its landlord warns it could be sold and jobs could be lost if money is not ploughed in for a major upgrade.
The studios, which played host to the Sport Relief special featuring David Beckham recently, is on the market and has had a few offers so far according to insiders.
Andrew Perloff, the chief executive and chairman of Panther Securities Plc, who own the site, said the company had been approached by a number of interested parties, and at least two people are looking to invest with the studios under the current management.
Other offers have been to buy the freehold, which could mean re-development of the site.
Mr Perloff said: "We have assisted them for a few years.
"If they want to spend a lot of money they can buy the freehold.
"We’ll sell anything at a price.
"We are in the business to make a profit.
"We’ll bend over backwards to help them secure finance."
The four and a half acre site is based in the Lombard Road estate on the border of Wimbledon and Morden.
It is the former home of TV show The Bill and hosts dozens of television shows as well as a state-of-the-art studio costing £500,000 to build.
Mr Perloff said: "If it is re-developed there will be job losses.
"We are a big property company but not big enough for the type of investment they need.
"It is getting beyond the depth of our pockets."
Piers Read, managing director at Wimbledon Studios said: "Following recent speculation in the media, we would like to reassure all our clients, staff and affiliates that it is very much business as usual at Wimbledon Studios.
"The growth and success of Wimbledon Studios, which has emerged as a leading TV studio in a little over three years, has pushed our investment criteria beyond the means and comfort level of Panther Securities Plc.
"In light of that, we are talking to a number of very interested parties about potential investment in the studios which will help us meet our ambitious expansion and development plans to take advantage of the increasing need for studio space close to the centre of London."
The studios hope to make an official announcement in the coming weeks.
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