Neptune readies for £11m ABC conversion

Liverpool City Council is set to transfer ownership of the former ABC cinema on Lime Street to developer Neptune, as part of plans for an £11m refurbishment into a music and entertainment venue for up to 1,500 people.

Neptune’s proposals were announced in August. Under designs by architects Austin-Smith:Lord, the grade two-listed former cinema would include a music venue, TV broadcast facilities, bars and restaurants, with the flexibility to host a variety of live music events.

The council’s final cabinet meeting of 2016 will meet on Friday to discuss the project, and has been asked to approve Neptune to take over the building on a 250-year lease. The council acquired the cinema from the Homes & Communities Agency in 2014 for a nominal sum.

According to a report ahead of the cabinet, a planning application will be submitted by the end of the year, “with the aim of providing the city with a venue of international standing, that will see the former cinema building converted to hold crowds of up to 1,500 for live performances in its famous auditorium.”

Two potential occupiers have been identified; the names are undisclosed but they are “well-established, high profile end users to anchor the completed scheme”.

The ABC cinema opened in 1931 as the Forum Cinema and was a fixture of the city centre entertainment scene until it closed in 1998.

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