Rochdale’s new shopping and leisure development has secured a blockbuster deal, with Reel cinema formally signing up to the scheme.
The national company, which already has 15 outlets across the country, will open a six screen, 20,000 sq ft cinema in the development.
The deal means that Rochdale will have a cinema in the heart of its town centre for the first time in more than 20 years.
The cinema is central to the leisure part of the development, which will also feature restaurants and cafes.
The move is another big step forward for the project, which is a major part of Rochdale Borough Council’s unprecedented £250m town centre regeneration programme. It follows the announcement late last year that British retail giants M&S and Next were to open 50,000 and 22,000 sq ft shops in the new development.
Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It’s great to see this fantastic development reach another key milestone today. This scheme will complete our £250m regeneration programme, which will give our residents and visitors the kind of town centre that they really want. This cinema is a welcome addition which will boost Rochdale’s early evening economy.
“Rochdale town centre has transformed in recent years and we’re looking forward to seeing more dramatic changes in the years to come. We have a real momentum in Rochdale and a renewed sense of confidence in the future.”
Chris Morgan Giles of Reel Cinemas said: “We’re delighted to be signing up to this exciting retail and leisure development, which will undoubtedly help reposition Rochdale and attract people to the town centre from a much wider area.
“Our operations in this region have recently grown significantly and as we are looking to continue to expand our business for the foreseeable future, Rochdale is an ideal place to do this.”
Reel cinemas have a tradition of supporting their local communities by running events and organising fundraising activities for good causes. Each screen will be available for private hire.
As well as the cinema, the new development, which will be called Rochdale Riverside, will comprise around 25 retail and leisure units and a 350-space car park.
Chris Riley, landlord of the Regal Moon, said: “This is massive for the town. My experience in business is that to be successful you need other successful business around you, as they all bring more people into the town centre, which benefits everybody. Rochdale town centre needs a lift and this is just the thing to do it.”
The development will mark the end of an ambitious £250 million council regeneration programme, which has seen the town centre benefit from unprecedented levels of investment since 2010.
Developments which have been built as part of this programme include the new bus station, the award winning council building, customer service centre and central library, Number One Riverside and the new leisure centre in Entwisle Road. Another major town centre regeneration programme, the reopening of the River Roch, will be complete next month.
Steve Rumbelow added: “We’re already looking at what we can do next. We’re working side by side with the private sector to ensure that people know Rochdale is investment ready and open for business.”