Ground has been broken by the contractor at the Tower Street car park to mark the start of the shopping centre’s phase two extension.
Graham’s start on site was enabled by three deals signed in February: the council’s acquisition of the car park, a lease agreement for a new 22,500 sq ft Wilko store and a deal with MMC Cinemas for a nine-screen, 40,500 sq ft multimedia cinema complex.
The overall scheme has been facilitated by £5m of funding from the Government’s Covid-19 Getting Building Fund, following formal approval by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership in October last year. Blackpool Council will fund the balance of the scheme through prudential borrowing.
MMC Cinemas is a start-up independent cinema brand founded by industry veteran John Sullivan, whose career includes time developing brands including Vue and founding UK cinema group The Light.
Sullivan said: “We’re not bringing a ready-made cinema brand to Blackpool; Blackpool will help to shape this flexible arts and community space.
“We’re already in discussions with local interest groups and we want to hear from more. This will be a place where people can come together and make use of this flexible space for education, leisure, shopping, entertainment, workspaces and so much more.”
Main image: Members of the development team mark the start of enabling works. Credit: Martin Bostock