Cinema operator signs at Crewe’s Royal Arcade

Empire Cinemas has agreed terms for an eight-screen multiplex with Peveril Securities and Cordwell as a key part of the redevelopment of the Royal Arcade in Crewe.

The joint venture developers were selected as Cheshire East Council’s preferred development partners last year. A planning application is expected next year, with the developers now aiming to complete the retail and leisure scheme by mid-2021.

Justin Ribbons, chief executive of Empire, added further details of the 800-seat operation: “Our main screen will feature a hi-tech ‘impact’ screen showing the latest blockbuster movie to 230 customers seated in luxury seats, including some in a new sofa format. Our 17-seater ‘D Box’ will be one of the first in the UK where the moviegoers’ reclining seats react to the action on screen.

“We share the ambitious plans of the council and the developer for the regeneration of Crewe town centre and believe that our cinema can play a big part in reviving the night-time economy of Crewe and make it an exciting place for families to spend their time.” Empire operates from 14 locations.

Cordwell Property Group said that it is advanced talks with other occupiers in the Royal Arcade scheme. Spokesman William Warrack said: “We have had strong interest from another leisure operator and expect to be able to make a further announcement in the coming weeks.

“We’re also in discussion with a number of restaurant operators, who are keen to have a presence in Crewe, reflecting the growth of the town and current lack of restaurants in the locality.”

Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for planning, housing and regeneration, said: “The council will continue working hard with the developer to deliver the full investment programme, with more exciting news to be announced soon.

“Alongside investment from Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the council will be supporting the costs of the public elements of the scheme, including the new bus station, multi-storey car park and public realm.”

Peveril and Cordwell have also released new images of their plans for the overall redevelopment, which will form part of their planning application next year as the scheme takes shape.

Warrack said: “We have been working closely with the council and Empire to create some exciting designs, which are unique to Crewe.

“We are expecting to finalise plans over the coming months and commence works on site late summer 2019. Whilst this is later than originally planned, we are confident that we can move forward at pace and deliver a completed scheme by summer 2021.”

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