Boutique cinema operator The Everyman Group has earmarked Durham City as the location for its first boutique multi-screen cinema in the North East of England after agreeing Heads of Terms with the developer of Milburngate.
The proposed scheme is also attracting significant interest from a number of premium food and drink operators, which currently do not have a presence in the city or, in some cases, the North East region.
Milburngate, on the banks of the River Wear, will feature a high quality mix of homes, offices, bars, and restaurants as well as the cinema, and is set to become the North of England’s newest and most significant waterside regeneration project.
Following a successful public consultation earlier in the year, the consortium is finalising its proposals for the Milburngate House site to create a premium, mixed-use scheme for Durham City and the North East. A public exhibition will take place in November to enable the developers to conclude its application, which will be submitted around Christmas time.
The development consortium, comprising Carillion, Arlington Real Estate and Richardson Capital Llp, are ready to commence the project once permissions are granted by Durham County Council.
Milburngate will be the second phase of an ambitious regeneration project following the successful redevelopment of Freeman’s Reach on the opposite bank of the River Wear, retaining more than 1,000 high value jobs in the city centre as well as enhancing the riverside landscape and access for visitors.
Neil McMillan, Development Director, Carillion, said: “When we started this project we firmly believed that if we offered the right quality of environment then Durham City could attract some really exciting and innovative operators, transforming this site into a vibrant mixed use destination of regional significance. The positive responses we’ve had from our target operators, including Everyman, is really encouraging and reaffirms our view that we can create a scheme in Durham to rival some of the best developments in the UK. Whilst there is still a lot do, we are very much on track to turn our plans into reality and we expect to submit our planning application around Christmas time with the intent to secure approval in early 2016, with construction to commence soon after.”
Allan Cook, Managing Director of Arlington Real Estate, said: “Durham City is a very special place and with events like Lumiere its prominence within the UK is growing. Our city deserves more than just another generic high street scheme, a sentiment that was very much shared at our first public exhibition. In addition to securing a premium cinema offer in the form of Everyman we are engaged in late-stage discussions with a number of aspirational restaurant operators looking to position themselves within premium schemes such as Milburngate. We were always confident that our vision for this part of Durham would be attractive to such operators and that they would relish the opportunity to be part of this once in a lifetime regeneration opportunity.”