Allied London adds creative expertise to St John's team

Allied London has hired Piers Read, a former TV producer and specialist in placemaking for creative sectors, as director of enterprise for its St John’s development in Manchester city centre.

Read will be responsible for the Granada Television studios, commercial lettings, retail and leisure, technology and digital, and Allied London’s co-working brand, OGS Works.

Read has had a 15-year career in the creative and broadcasting industry. He was a TV producer at Graham Norton’s SO Television, has worked on programmes Peep Show and The Inbetweeners, and founded Wimbledon Film & TV Studios in 2010.

The studios included The Media Village, a flexible workspace centre of 40,000 sq ft, which consisted of tenants from the creative sectors.

Read was also previously managing director of Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham, a development site for creatives which today houses more than 500 tenants from the tech, digital and creative industries.

Read joins in the role of Director of Enterprise at the Old Granada Studios HQ that is being redeveloped into a brand new neighbourhood in Manchester. 

Michael Ingall, Allied London’s chief executive, said: “We’re delighted Piers is joining us. When creating new spaces you need to acquire new talent and Piers has a great, complimentary skill set for what we’re trying to achieve at St John’s. He has a proven track record in film, TV and enterprise as well as an ability to curate new places, as he has already demonstrated in London and Birmingham.”

Read added: “Our focus is on curating a commercial enterprise city within St John’s. We already house a diverse community of technology, digital and creative industries and we now plan to grow this cluster at every level to create a complete business ecosystem. Allied London is very well placed to do this and I am excited to be able to bring this vision to life.”

Custard Factory appoints first managing director

Founder of Wimbledon Film and TV Studios named new chief at Digbeth creative hub with remit to drive expansion of the estate. 

Piers has built his career in the digital media and creative industries. He will work alongside owner Lucan Gray and take responsibility for driving growth and expansion plans for the estate in Birmingham.

The Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios provide space for around 2,000 workers, predominantly in the digital and creative sectors.

As well as working to raise the profile of the Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios, Piers manages the estate day-to-day and is overseeing and programme of improvement works, which is already under way.

Lucan Gray added: “Piers is uniquely well qualified to manage the business, with a strong personal entrepreneurial track record and coming from a media and property background. This is the beginning of an exciting new phase for us. We are looking forward to what lies ahead with a great sense of anticipation.”


Why London is facing a TV Studio crisis

The Time + Space Co. founder Piers Read writes regularly about issues confronting the creative industries in the capital, as commercial property values continue to increase and put pressure on certain sectors. Click here to read the full article.

In 2014 Wimbledon Studios, Teddington Studios and Riverside Studios all closed down. 

My focus is finding a new venture that will show how it can be done both now and into the future
— Piers Read, May 2014

A Year at Wimbledon Film & TV Studios

Wimbledon Film & TV Studios has enjoyed a superb first year of trading which included hosting an array of world class film and TV production in SW19. The 220,000 sq ft complex is the second closest production hub to Central London and includes The Media Village, a 40,000 sq ft business centre which is tenanted with companies from the creative industries. Watch this fantastic video below to see which stars filmed with us!

Lights, Camera Action in SW19!

Managing Partner Piers Read was featured in the Evening Standard's weekly profile of entreprenurial ventures in the capital. Click here to read full article.

In 2010 Read commercialised the assets at the former Merton Studios and re-opened the facility to the independent sector but branded as Wimbledon Film & TV Studios.