December 7 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 3, 2013
A seafront theatre remains boarded up and no nearer finding a new operator ten months after closing – with the owners saying there has been “little firm interest”.
The Spa Pavilion at Felixstowe was closed by Suffolk Coastal council after the resort’s Christmas panto run came to an end with hopes high that a new use for the venue, or a buyer, would be found.
At that stage, two bids had been received, but both were subsequently rejected after marketing agents Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said the submitted proposals did not meet the “necessary criteria”.
Since then there has been some interest, but demolition of the building looms ever closer with potential developers now being told it could be knocked down or redeveloped for a variety of leisure and tourism uses, including holiday accommodation.
Cabinet member for leisure and economic development, Geoff Holdcroft told council there had been “little firm interest” so far in the 892-seater Spa.
Mr Holdcroft said talks were continuing between the agents JLL and parties that have shown an interest to understand how their interest can be developed further.
No details have been disclosed of the interested parties and their ideas for the site.
There has been frustration locally after two proposals put forward by community groups to continue the Spa as a theatre were deemed unsatisfactory to the council, which is keen either to sell the venue or to have a viable use which does not require cash input from taxpayers.
The council had been paying £240,000 a year subsidy but decided this, coupled with the expense of modernisation work needed on the building, was too much.
JLL renewed the marketing campaign during the summer with a full brief for potential buyers on acceptable types of development, along with a report extolling the benefits of investment in Felixstowe.
The report says that a “wide range of tourism, resort, and leisure activities that would make the site a ‘destination’ in its own right” would be acceptable.