Tristan enters burgeoning studio financing market

The private equity real estate firm has made its debut loan in the 'structurally undersupplied' sector.

Tristan Capital Partners has become the latest alternative debt provider to secure a deal in the film and television studio sector, a niche yet competitive part of the market, which lenders are increasingly willing to finance.

The £35.4 million (€41.4 million) loan to UK property developer Ziser London is for the refinancing of London North Studios, a film and TV studio with ancillary office space in north London. The loan is for three to five years and will, says Tristan, create a stable financial platform for Ziser to increase occupancy.

At 182,764 square feet, London North Studios – which is close to major road infrastructure, including the M1 motorway – is one of the largest filming spaces in Greater London, an area where demand is high among both production companies and property investors.

This shortage of facilities for global content providers has triggered a wave of plans and proposals for new purpose-built studio spaces in the UK. Planning consents for film studios increased by 45 percent between 2018 and 2021, according to real estate adviser Knight Frank.

The gated facility – which spans five acres – has multiple vehicle access points, car parking and a further 17,500 square feet yard for Winnebagos, articulated trucks and action vehicles with maintenance facilities – all key requirements for production occupiers. An additional underground car park can accommodate VIP vehicles.

Tristan Capital Partners provided the capital from its TIPS One “Income Plus” real estate debt fund, which launched in 2021 to provide core-plus, value-add and opportunistic debt.

Dan Pottorff, head of debt investment at the firm, said: “The studio market is currently structurally undersupplied and the shift towards content on demand is driving requirements for well-located filming production spaces and putting pressure on market rents.” He added that the asset had the potential for redevelopment into residential and industrial, making it an “attractive proposition” for financing.

Tristan follows debt and equity manager Cain International, which also completed its debut film studio deal in recent weeks – a £261.5 million development loan for a 1 million square foot production studio complex in Reading, UK. In July last year, specialist lender Octopus Real Estate also issued a £30 million loan to support sponsor Ridgeway Property Holdings’ acquisition of a 182,764 square foot office and warehouse space in north London, for conversion into film and TV studios.