Hollywood Bowl is already confirmed for the site and four restaurant units are under offer
A major cinema chain has been confirmed for the £40m leisure complex planned for Preston City Centre.
The Arc Cinema has announced it will take a 25 year lease at Animate, the cinema, leisure and restaurant complex due to be built on the site of the former indoor market. The chain follows Hollywood Bowl in committing to the development.
Planning permission has now been finalised and construction work is due to begin this year ahead of a planned opening in 2024. Also included int he plans are a food hall, bars and a public realm.
Those behind the scheme say it will create 140 jobs and boost the local economy by more than £7million while regenerating an underused site. The Arc Cinema will operate an eight screen facility on the top floor which will also contain an escape room-style attraction and a restaurant.
Andrew Dewhurst, development director at Maple Grove Developments which is leading the project, said: “It couldn’t be better news to have a cinema operator join the tenant line up at Animate. With planning now secured, working with Preston City Council, we now have the confidence to press on with the detailed design in readiness for a construction start.
“ In addition to The Arc Cinema, four of the restaurant units are now under offer and we expect to be able to announce more names throughout the spring. Our aim is to start on site in October this year with practical completion due in summer 2024.”
Brian Gilligan, director at The Arc Cinema, added: “We are extremely proud and excited to be an anchor at Preston’s Animate scheme. Animate will be an amazing leisure destination when we and our neighbours in the scheme open in 2024 and its location in the heart of Preston’s vibrant city centre fits perfectly with The Arc Cinema’s ambitious expansion plans.
“It’s fantastic to see a growing independent leisure operator committing to the project and Preston which is an acknowledgement of the attractiveness of investing in our community. Bringing tenants like Arc here will stimulate further investment and boost the local economy so more local people can benefit.”
The development is one of six major projects planned under Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, for which the city was awarded £20.9m from the government’s national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.