Preston Animate The Marketquarter p Inform Comms

The 168,000 sq ft Animate will also feature an eight-screen Arc Cinema, under an earlier pre-let. Credit: via Inform Comms

Trio of lettings for Preston’s Animate

F&B chains Zizzi, Las Iguanas, and Cosmo have signed to occupy a total of 18,000 sq ft at the £40m city centre leisure scheme, which is now 75% let.

The 168,000 sq ft Animate is being delivered by Maple Grove Developments on behalf of Preston City Council, and it received planning permission in March.

The scheme has already secured two anchor tenants – Arc Cinema, which is to operate an eight-screen venue spanning 30,000 sq ft, and Hollywood Bowl, whose 16-lane bowling alley is to span 21,000 sq ft with a bar, diner, and amusement area.

Located within the city’s Harris Quarter, Animate is planned to offer five primary restaurants plus a street food hub and competitive social space, with the aim of improving the city centre’s retail, leisure and cultural offer.

The plans also comprise a new underground car park with 164 spaces, improvements to the surrounding public realm, better pedestrian links, a ‘changing places’ accessible facility, as well as enhanced landscaping, tree planting and street lighting.

The latest lettings are three F&B operators that all new to Preston. Italian restaurant chain Zizzi is taking 3,250 sq ft on the main terrace fronting Preston’s market canopy under the deal; world buffet operator Cosmo is taking 11,000 sq ft on the upper floor, and Latin American bar and restaurant Las Iguanas is taking 4,100 sq ft.

Main contractor Eric Wright Construction is due to start work on the construction phase in January 2023 and the restaurants are expected to be operational once the scheme opens in late 2024.

Letting agents Bradys and CBRE advised Maple Grove Developments on all three deals.

John Brady, director of letting agency Brady’s said: “Given its size and large student population, Preston offers potential for a far wider array of restaurants and bars. Animate will help address this and we’re delighted to welcome all three restaurants to Animate.”

And Cllr Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, added: “The strength of these three popular restaurants agreeing to sign before the main construction phase begins…shows an exceptional level of confidence in a scheme that will make a big difference to the regeneration of Preston’s leisure, entertainment and cultural offer.

“Animate will remain in the council’s ownership for the people of Preston and will be central in delivering secure, long-term jobs, skills, and training opportunities, and will boost footfall into the city centre, supporting our cultural economy and retail core.”

The project is part-funded by Preston’s Towns Fund award of £3.4m and £3.25m City Deal.

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