South Kesteven District Council has handed the keys to the new multiplex cinema in Grantham to operator Savoy.
The council’s contractors have now finished the shell of the building work and it will be up to the Nottingham-based cinema operator to complete the five-screen development.
Speaking following the official handover today, manager James Collington said they were ready to hit the rest of the work “at full speed”.
“Cinemas are going through a brilliant period at the moment, 2018 was the strongest year for admissions since 1971,” he said.
“The fact the cinema’s going through such a strong resurgence means filmmakers are putting out more and more products with more than 900 films released to cinemas last year.
“We looking to combine that with the best fit-out, best technology and best seating providing the best experience for the people of Grantham. It’s been quite a while coming and it will be a credit to the town.”
The new venue is scheduled to open during Easter 2019 and will feature 650 seats and a variety of restaurants.
The council has also been in talks with the University of Lincoln, who are looking to take over the upper floor with a lecture theatre and offices.
SKDC’s portfolio holder for the cinema development Jacky Smith said it was an “auspicious day”.
She told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines there had been some setbacks with the weather such as the Beast from the East but praised the construction teams for their response.
“Every time we’ve had a little setback they’ve caught it up, so it’s nice to see we’ve completed the work we had to do and now its’ up to the cinema operators to get everything inside and ready to open.
“Grantham has a strong commercial background and if we’re going to attract more businesses we need also to have the educational facilities to support any other investment.”
The new build will also be one of the entrances to the new £1.6 million St Peter’s Hill public realm works..
Deputy leader Councillor Kelham Cooke, said the cinema “set a benchmark” for the regeneration works, which are due to be completed in June.
He said the works would be “of a superb quality that will support the cinema and the retail units as well”.
“It’s to help rejuvenate the town centre, to make it the destination of choice, to encourage visitors and support the local retailers and economy to create more jobs.”
He praised the number of major developments in Grantham recently approved, including the two designer outlet centres, adding that it was “now about creating the town centre as that destination so we keep the high quality shops in the town centre and support retailers.
“They have the ability to bring in millions of visitors every year and it’s about how we can encourage those to use the town centre.”