Walsall’s first town centre cinema for two decades continues to rise from the ground with the scheme just months away from completion.
The 8 screen complex will be run by The Light Cinema and is expected to be finished next spring.
Five bars and restaurants are included in the first phase of the development, which include Hungry Horse, Bella Italia, Pizza Express and Chiquitos. Property developer Kier is in advance negotiations with the fifth tenant for the final unit in phase one.
Kier is expected to complete its handover to the tenants next month, whereupon the cinema operator will kit out the building with the latest hi-tech Extreme screen, which delivers a more intense experience through super-high quality audio and visual.
Walsall’s last town centre cinema (The Cannon, originally the ABC/Savoy) closed in 1993. The 1930s art deco ‘super cinema’ was replaced by the Woolworths building at the top end of Park Street, now occupied by Poundland and Pure Gym near the New Art Gallery.
Walsall Council’s deputy leader, councillor Adrian Andrew was given a tour of the facility earlier today, and said that this latest scheme was another key piece in the jigsaw of regenerating the town.
“I’m delighted to see with my own eyes that Walsall’s new cinema is on track to open early next year,” he said.
“People are not going to be disappointed with this venue, which will nicely complement the existing leisure facilities in the Waterfront area.
“The £65m Waterfront development has been a resounding success so far, regenerating 17 acres in the town and creating hundreds of jobs in the process.
“There aren’t many towns in the UK that can boast the same degree of regeneration as Walsall.
“Kier and its contractor G F Tomlinson, together with The Light are committed to completing the project on time in early 2016.”
Phil Dove of The Light Cinema added: “This is a wonderful location for Light Cinemas and we are looking forward to working with everyone in Walsall. It’s incredible to see what’s already happened and the exciting plans for further regeneration.
“We’re confident that the Walsall public will very much appreciate this bespoke cinematic experience. The Light offers a unique social vibe and meets the individual and collective needs of the community.”
Kier has agreed terms with three additional operators for the second phase and has one unit remaining of up to 5,000sq ft, which could be split for the right operator. Interested parties should contact Nick Ferris of Jones Lang LaSalle in Leeds or Stuart Burdon-Bailey of Jones Lang LaSalle in Manchester.