Contractor picked for £6.7m cinema and arts hub extension

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Willmott Dixon has won a scheme of works to extend and improve Leicester’s renowned Phoenix cinema and art centre.

The project is being funded by a number of major public and private organisations and will see an extension built onto the existing facility to house creative and education spaces, two new cinema screens, a larger café bar and roof terrace with accessible toilets and lifts.

Parts of the current building – which was built in 2009 by the Willmott Dixon team – will also be refurbished to create office and foyer spaces and extend the existing digital arts gallery.

The £6.7m project is being accelerated through SCAPE Construction, a direct award framework that drives collaboration, efficiency, time and cost savings.

Nick Heath, director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re very excited about being awarded this project and extending Phoenix even further. The venue has proven to be an invaluable asset to the local community in Leicester – acting as a collaborative hub for filmmakers, artists, and creative businesses, which has facilitated job creation and economic output for the city’s creative industries. The build has also played a huge role in the area’s digital economy, attracting national funding and supporting initiatives to boost local tourism, so we’re incredibly proud to be a part of its continuing success.”

Leicester City Council is helping to fund the project.

John Rance, chief executive officer at Phoenix, said: “We are expanding a unique cultural venue that includes digital arts, cinema, a popular café and spaces to meet, create and learn. Phoenix attracts a wide range of visitors, and Willmott Dixon and Marchini Curran Associates have done an excellent job working with us to produce a final design that meets both our ambition for the development and the challenges of funding and value for money. We are very excited to be moving forward with Willmott Dixon to complete the scheme.”

Des Curran, director for Marchini Curran Associates, said: “We are delighted to see these exciting proposals now moving forward to the construction stage, thanks to the considerable efforts and excellent collaboration of all concerned.”