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The Arc Cinema signs deal with Animate - Preston's upcoming cinema and leisure complex

Animate complex

Preston Animate Cinema and Leisure Complex

24 May 2022

The Arc Cinema has signed a 25-year lease at Preston's city-owned cinema and leisure complex Animate, and will occupy a 29,500 square foot space in the new development. Animate is expected to generate more than £7m in economic revenue for Preston, and around 140 jobs.

The development is in partnership with Preston City Council and Maple Grove Developments, which is part of the Eric Wright Group. Animate will be located at the city's former indoor market area, as one of six major projects planned under Preston's Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, of which Preston was awarded £20.9m from the government's national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.

Another anchor tenant, Hollywood Bowl, has committed to a 16-lane, 20,300 square foot occupancy at Animate, which was signed in November 2021.

The Leach-Rhodes-Walker scheme received planning permission in April 2022, with the scheme expected to begin construction in August 2022.

For more information about the scheme visit Invest Preston - Animate Preston Cinema and Leisure scheme - proposed layout and plans.

Preston City Council's Leader, Councillor Matthew Brown, said:

"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 Prestonians 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."

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, added:

"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."

More information

Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone. 

  • Brady Chartered Surveyors acted for Preston CC & Maple Grove on this scheme. 
  • The other projects included in Preston's £200 million Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme are:
    • Preston Pop Ups: Bringing together new temporary event space, artworks and improvements to public realm infrastructure, aimed at boosting visitor activity in the Harris Quarter. 
    • CEIAG Hub: The creation of a new Careers and Employment, Information, Advice and Guidance Hub in the Harris Quarter.
    • Renewal of Harris Quarter Assets: Investment to support the redevelopment of publicly-owned buildings in the Harris Quarter to support new cultural and community uses.
    • Illuminate and Integrate: A project to deliver improved pedestrian and cycleway infrastructure, street lighting and other public realm improvements within the Harris Quarter.
    • Preston Youth Zone: The development of Preston Youth Zone as a state-of-the-art facility for young people in Preston aged eight to 19.

#HarrisYourPlace: The refurbishment of the Grade I listed Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, enhancing and protecting the building for generations to come.

For more information about this scheme and others forming part of the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme visit Invest Preston - Harris Quarter Regeneration.

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