Linen Mill Studios has secured £3.5m of funding through Whiterock Finance’s Growth Finance Fund and Growth Loan Fund II towards the cost of its landmark new Game of Thrones Studio Tour visitor attraction.
Linen Mill Studios has received planning permission for construction of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, which is being developed under licence with Warner Brothers Consumer Products and will be located at Linen Mill Studios’ site near Banbridge. The multi-award-winning show, produced by HBO, was predominantly filmed in Northern Ireland with a significant portion of that being filmed at Linen Mill Studios between 2011 and 2019.
Once completed, the Studio Tour is expected to attract 600,000 visitors a year and help generate in the region of £400m of tourism revenue over a 10-year period for Northern Ireland, supporting almost 200 jobs in the local area.
The company has agreed a £2m loan from the Growth Finance Fund and a £1.5m loan from Growth Loan Fund II, both of which are managed by Whiterock Finance.
Finance for the £30m Growth Finance Fund – which can provide loans to SMEs up to £2m – has been provided by the British Business Bank, Invest Northern Ireland and private investors, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).
Finance for the £30m Growth Loan Fund II is provided by Invest Northern Ireland and part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.
Andrew Webb, Director at Linen Mill Studios, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from Whiterock and I would like to thank David and the wider team at Whiterock for their strong support of the project, and indeed for their positive approach throughout.
“Momentum is now gathering towards the creation of one of the most exciting visitor attractions in Northern Ireland’s history, one that will draw thousands of visitors from near and far, provide a host of direct and indirect jobs and underpin Northern Ireland’s economy at a crucial time.
“The Game of Thrones Studio Tour has already generated huge excitement and interest among fans around the world and we expect it to play a significant part in rejuvenating the tourism sector on the island of Ireland in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”
David McCurley, director of Whiterock Finance, said: “We are really excited to have been able to play a part in helping Andrew and the Linen Mill Studios team bring this landmark new tourist attraction to life. When it opens next year, the Studio Tour will provide a significant boost to the local economy and benefit the whole of the Northern Ireland tourism industry.
“The Game of Thrones Studio Tour is one of the more unique projects we have supported but it demonstrates the wide variety of businesses that continue to avail of both the Growth Finance Fund and Growth Loan Fund II.”