Madrid Content City Lays Symbolic First Stone for Five More Studios, Film-TV Campus

By John Hopewell

Secuoya Group president Raul Berdonés and Madrid region politicians laid a symbolic stone Tuesday morning for Phase II and III of construction on Madrid Content City. Built around Tres Cantos’ Secuoya Studios north of Madrid, which already house Netflix’s first European Production Hub, Madrid Content City weighs in as one of the most ambitious studio, education and leisure complexes in Europe.

Phase II of MCC will add 398,265 square feet and five new sound stages to Phase 1’s five stages, all now occupied by Netflix. Phase III includes the construction of Madrid Content Campus, the biggest film-TV university in Spain, launched with Spain’s Planeta Group, one of the largest publishing houses in the Spanish-speaking world.

Leisure complexes, warehouses, sound stages, studios, recording studios and offices will open first half 2022, with part of the Campus, adding 699,654 square feet to Madrid Content City, bowing as early as second half 2021, Berdonés said at Tuesday’s stone laying.

Addressing leading lights of Spain’s TV and film industries and the national press in their first on-site public meeting since Spain’s went into COVID-19 lockdown in March, Berdonés pointed out that Phase II construction comes fast on the heels of new and vastly improved shoot big tax breaks in Spain.

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Approved May 5 by Spain’s central government, these new measures increase tax rebates for international shoots and tax credits for Spanish nationality productions to 30% for the first €1 million ($1.1 million) spend in Spain, capping a shoot’s total tax deduction at €10.0 million ($10.8 million), up from €3 million ($3.3 million). According to Berdonés, the new tax incentives will triple the number of international shoots in Spain.

In Spain’s Canary Islands, the tax breaks are 20 percentage points higher, reaching an extraordinary 50%, the highest rate of deduction in the world.

Berdonés added that he was in conversations with 22 international and national companies to have a space at the MCC, either setting up offices, shooting at the studios or “establishing their logistical centers in Europe” at the complex. Total investment in Madrid Content City runs at over €100 million ($109 million), he added.

Berdonés was flanked at Tuesday morning’s foundation stone laying by Ignacio Aguado, vice president of the Madrid region Comunidad de Madrid, and by Marta Rivera de la Cruz, and Manuel Giménez Rasero, its councillors for, respectively, Culture and Tourism, for Transport, Mobility and Infrastructures, and for Economy, Employment and Competitiveness, as well as

That’s a sign, in a politically highly polarized Spain, of the importance given to the premium content production sector by not only Spain’s central socialist PSOE government but also its main center-right Popular Party opposition, which governs in Madrid as well as CitizenS, the PP’s coalition partner in Madrid region –  a rare case of consensus.

After COVID-19, “we need good news in Madrid and Madrid Content City certainly is that,” Aguado said. “It brings visibility to Madrid, generates economic activity and large employment,” he added. Construction on MCC’s new phases will create 1,400 new jobs, plus 500 more in ancillary sectors.