Moorgarth Group, the asset manager on behalf of the new owner of Bolton’s Market Place, has gained consent from Bolton council for a nine-screen multiplex cinema.
Moorgarth bought Bolton’s key shopping centre Market Place towards the end of last year with financial backing from a South African parent company.
It has now pushed on with £15m investment plans to turn Market Place into a premier retail and leisure destination in the north west.
Moorgarth bought Market Place for approximately £23m as part of the break up of the Agora Shopping Centre fund at the end of 2013.
Anchor tenants include Debenhams, Zara, H & M, Next and River Island.
The Leeds based investor had submitted the cinema application within weeks of purchase and has already drawn up plans to open up the basement within the listed building at Market Place, in order to create a new, destination restaurant quarter.
Tim Vaughan, chief executive at Moorgarth Group, said: “We will be transforming this shopping centre by rebalancing the retail and restaurant mix in the scheme and breathing new life into it with a wider and exciting fashion and restaurant offer. This planning decision now paves the way for work to begin in earnest. We have agreed and concluded a deal with an exciting international cinema operator and we expect to make a formal announcement imminently.
“We want to give the people of Bolton and surrounding areas a reason to shop and spend their leisure time here. Already we have committed to the cinema - which will open in early 2015.
As part of our partnering with the Council we have agreed to offer our shoppers 90 minutes free car parking and this has created a substantial uptake of over 18% useage as against 2013. Over the coming months we will be making a series of exciting announcements on new tenants that will help drive footfall, secure new fashion focused retailers and increase dwell times.”
Leader of Bolton council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said the cinema was a “real winner” which was another big milestone for the regeneration of the town centre.
“One of our key priorities is improving the night-time economy offer, particularly in family focused leisure facilities. It has been our aspiration to secure a town centre cinema for a long time, and it’s fantastic news that this is going to happen. We are excited about Moorgarth’s wider plans for the centre, which will offer an enormous boost to Bolton town centre.”
GCW and Fawley Watson Booth have been appointed as joint agents on Market Place.