Empire schemes impress council

empire ealingEaling Council says it is “extremely impressed” with the plans proposed by all three of its shortlisted developers for the Empire site on the Broadway.

Land Securities, Salmon Harvester with Cineworld, and Wilson Bowden with Barratt are battling it out for the chance to become a joint venture development partner for the two-acre Ealing cinema site.

The developers’ proposals include Imax wrap-around screens with the latest projection technology.

Ealing Council is also exploring opportunities to collaborate with nearby Ealing Studios.  In addition to high profile blockbusters, some of the highest grossing independent British films have also been made at the studios.  The plan is to capitalise on the additional market that a wider mix of films will bring.

Leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Julian Bell, said  “I not only want to see Hollywood blockbusters being shown in Ealing again, but also a far broader mix of independent films and events that will attract people from all over London to Ealing.  The innovative thinking of our three bidders means that visitors will enjoy the very best of a diverse cinema experience surrounded by the most advanced technology of the digital revolution.”

The cinema site is seen as a key redevelopment opportunity within the Ealing Metropolitan Town Centre.  The council wishes to see a comprehensive mixed-use development with potential for cultural industries, art galleries and performance spaces, which will extend south from the cinema towards Ealing Studios and create a new ‘cultural quarter’ for Ealing.

The site has been part cleared, with the listed facade left standing, for some years following a planning row between Ealing Council and the site’s owner, Empire Cinemas, in part over the proposed height of the building. The council, after years of threatening to do so, has started CPO proceedings for the site, and intends to buy it and sell to one of its three preferred developers.

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