Blackpool Council has agreed terms with developers Nikal and Media Invest to kickstart the first phase of the £300m Blackpool Central masterplan, once set to be home to a supercasino.
Following negotiations over the course of this year, the council has now agreed terms with the developers to release the land required to begin the development.
An opening enabling phase will include a multi-storey car park with more than 1,300 spaces; this will be followed by phase one, an entertainment-led offering, including what is said to be the UK’s first “flying theatre”, a virtual reality entertainment zone, an indoor family entertainment centre, and a multimedia exhibition space, as well as restaurants and a food hall.
Phase one will also include a 150-bedroom hotel.
A second phase, including residential apartments, further food and drink outlets, and a second hotel featuring 250 bedrooms and landscaped public space, will follow after.
Under a timeline announced in December last year, this first phase is set to complete in 2024. The heads of terms are now with the developers’ and the council’s legal team, with an aim to complete the deal in the autumn. A planning application is to follow soon after.
The entertainment offer for the site is themed on Chariots of the Gods by Swiss author Erich Von Däniken and is being brought forward in partnership with Media Invest Entertainment, which owns the intellectual property rights to von Däniken’s work.
The Blackpool Central Station site covers around 17 acres and the council had formerly earmarked the site for a supercasino, putting forward a bid in 2006 to the Labour Government of the time. However, the town lost out to Manchester’s bid, which had proposed building a supercasino in Eastlands, though this was never progressed.
The site behind Coral Island is currently used as a surface car park.
It is estimated that once complete the project could attract 600,000 additional visitors a year and generate 1,000 jobs along with an annual spend of £75m. The council has had an exclusivity agreement with the site’s developer since March 2016.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Throughout the course of this year the council have continued negotiations with Nikal in relation to the terms of the development and for bringing the proposals to fruition. These negotiations are now at an advanced stage and we are delighted to announce that the terms have now been agreed for the release of the land required to kick start development on the site.
“The proposals for the site remain very positive and the council and developer are now progressing towards agreement of the legal documents with their commercial and legal advisers, with a view to having the deal completed later this autumn, so that work on the submission of a planning application can commence.”