Belfast Telegraph

It's love at first bite... Dracula film shot there, but who has fallen for charms of the old C&C factory in Belfast for a hefty £3.3m?

By Maureen Coleman

A former drinks factory in east Belfast where upcoming horror movie Dracula Untold was filmed has been sold for just over £3m.

The site of the old Cantrell & Cochrane factory on the Castlereagh Road – which was transformed into a massive production unit for the Hollywood blockbuster last year – was recently purchased by an unknown buyer for £3.3m.

The sale of the disused factory was handled by Belfast commercial property agents Colliers, but the identity of the new owner has not been revealed.

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, no-one from Colliers was available for comment.

The 124,706 sq ft site had been rented to Universal Pictures last summer for the filming of the latest Dracula retelling, starring Luke Evans in the title role.

According to sources, five potential buyers, including Universal Pictures, viewed the property late last year after filming of the $100m movie had wrapped. It is understood another film production company also showed interest in the site.

One source told the Belfast Telegraph that Universal Pictures had considered buying the site as it was planning to return to Northern Ireland to shoot further movies.

"What we've been told is that the old building was definitely bought by someone within the creative industries and that Universal had definitely been interested in it last year," the insider said.

"Supposedly, Universal were so impressed with Belfast and what it has to offer that they were keen to buy the old C&C factory where they shot Dracula Untold."

Universal Pictures was also unavailable for comment but normally film studios hire out production space rather than buy it outright.

A spokesman for Titanic Quarter Ltd, which owns the Titanic Studios – home to HBO's Game of Thrones – said it had not bought the former C&C factory and was not aware who had.

"There was no purchase or interest on the part of Titanic Quarter," he said.

Details of the site's purchase were published in a recent CBRE Northern Ireland report. It stated: "Demand for good quality industrial accommodation remains strong although supply is quite constrained as evidenced by the strong price of more than £3.3m achieved for the old C&C factory in east Belfast in recent weeks."

The old site, at 468 to 472 Castlereagh Road, comprises a number of large warehouses and office blocks. The space was transformed into four different 'stages' during production of the multi-million pound movie.

Dracula Untold, directed by Gary Shore, is based loosely on the novel by Dubliner Bram Stoker. It stars Evans as Vlad The Impaler – who becomes the cursed, undead vampire Dracula – as well as Dominic Cooper, Samantha Barks and Sarah Gadon.

The remake of the classic Gothic tale tells the beginning of the infamous bloodsucker as he attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England and the ensuing battle with vampire hunter Van Helsing.

It's the second movie Universal Pictures has filmed in Northern Ireland. In 2009, Your Highness was shot in Belfast, starring James Franco and Natalie Portman. Universal is one of Hollywood's 'Big Six' film companies and has been behind some of cinema's best-loved movies, including Jaws, ET, Schindler's List and King Kong.

Dracula Untold is out on October 17

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