New £40m cinema and leisure complex reveals second anchor tenant

Animate, Preston’s city owned £40m cinema and leisure complex, has announced The Arc Cinema as the scheme’s second anchor tenant for a new eight-screen cinema.

The news comes after the Leach Rhodes Walker-designed mixed-use scheme was given the go ahead by the council’s planning committee last month.

The Arc Cinema has taken 29,500 sq ft offering a total of eight screens and joins fellow anchor tenant Hollywood Bowl which committed to an 16-lane, 20,300 sq ft at Animate in November 2021.

Located on the city’s former indoor market, Animate will also include a food hall, restaurants, bars and public realm.

Andrew Dewhurst, development director at Maple Grove Developments, said: “It couldn’t be better news to have a cinema operator join the tenant line up at Animate. With planning now secured, working with Preston City Council, we now have the confidence to press on with the detailed design in readiness for a construction start.

“In addition to The Arc Cinema, four of the restaurant units are now under offer and we expect to be able to announce more names throughout the Spring. Our aim is to start on site in October this year with practical completion due in Summer 2024.”

Brian Gilligan, director at The Arc Cinema, said: “We are extremely proud and excited to be an anchor at Preston’s Animate scheme. Animate will be an amazing leisure destination when we and our neighbours in the scheme open in 2024 and its location in the heart of Preston’s vibrant city centre fits perfectly with The Arc Cinema’s ambitious expansion plans.

“We’re really looking forward to providing our customers with an unbeatable cinema experience and will be seeking to create a team of 30 happy, friendly people from the local community to look after our customers the way they deserve to be. The Arc Cinema is passionate about delivering a hugely enjoyable and luxurious experience at everyday prices, and we think that this unique combination is absolutely perfect for Preston.”

Preston City Council’s leader Matthew Brown added: “The Animate development is a key project in Preston’s 15-year City Investment Plan and will help complete the long awaited regeneration of our city centre with the asset in the ownership of the city so Prestonian’s can benefit more directly from it.

“It’s fantastic to see a growing independent leisure operator committing to the project and Preston which is an acknowledgement of the attractiveness of investing in our community. Bringing tenants like Arc here will stimulate further investment and boost the local economy so more local people can benefit.”

Animate is projected to stimulate economic growth and development in Preston and is expected to generate over £7m of extra economic activity annually while creating 140 full-time equivalent jobs.

The development is one of six major projects planned under Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, for which the city was awarded £20.9m from the government’s national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.

Bradys and CBRE are the joint lettings for Animate and advised Maple Grove Developments.

Barker Proudlove represented The Arc Cinema.

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