Developers have bought the former Odeon cinema in Colchester’s Crouch Street and Morley Riches & Ablewhite have been retained by Blumarble to undertake a financial viability study
Fresh plans to transform the site are set to be submitted to Colchester Borough Council. These are likely to include forty apartments and two or three shops.
BlueMarble Properties says it intends to spend between £10m to £14m on the building and will preserve the original Art Deco façade.
The company has been in talks with the local authority for a year and hopes to submit its plans in the next few weeks.
Matt Ellis Director at BlueMarble Properties said “We just want to get on with things and are close to formalising an agreement. A lot of people are in support of doing something with this building. It’s an important part of the town centre and we want everyone to be happy”.
As yet a decision has not been made whether the block at the rear of the 30,000 sq ft site, which previously housed the cinema screens, will be knocked down or retained. Matt Ellis commented: “In the next few weeks we should be in a position to say ‘yes’, this is what we are putting into planning. We have to retain the façade, which we are happy to do because it is a lovely building. Its current state just lets it down. The main thing is the block at the back. We are still trying to work out the best and most intelligent way to progress with that. It could mean retaining the existing building or starting again. It won’t be any bigger or smaller than what is currently there.”
Mr Ellis confirmed BluMarble had started working on plans with former owner, Ross Carroll, before buying the site from him just over a year ago.
- Mr Carroll purchased the building in 2012 and at first planned to transfer it into a ninety six bed hotel with forty homes.
- In 2014, he submitted plans for three shops and seven apartments along with a four storey block of thirty six apartments on land behind the cinema.
- Steve Peri, who owned the building for eight years previously intended to turn it into a super-club but all plans to develop the site has so far fallen flat.
Mr Ellis said, “A lot of people are in support of doing something with this building. It is an important part of the town centre and we want everyone locally to be happy.”
The cinema building has been empty since 2002 when Odeon moved to its current Head Street premises.
Written by Samantha Morley of Morley Riches & Ablewhite, Surveyors of Colchester using excerpts from the http://m.essexcountystandard.co.uk/ article written by Emma Hobley in May 2016.