October 23 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Cinema giant Vue is still pressing ahead with proposals to move into the Buttermarket centre despite a takeover this summer and a delay to the start of work.
The company is hoping to set up a nine-screen cinema in what was originally the shopping centre’s anchor department store.
This has been largely unoccupied since Allders went into administration in 2005, leading to the closure of its Ipswich store.
Part of the unit was occupied by budget store TJ Hughes, but that went into administration two years ago and the department store has been empty ever since.
We revealed last year that Vue cinemas was keen to convert the top three floors of the department store into a cinema – however that requires major conversion work.
Earlier this year Buttermarket centre managers Cornerstone said plans were still being drawn up but work would start in July because it hoped to open the cinema in early summer next year – the summer is a crucial time for cinemas because that is when most of the blockbuster films are released.
However there has been no work at the centre, and doubts were raised after Vue was taken over in June by a Canadian private equity company.
Before the cinema itself can be created, the first floor of the centre, including the TK Maxx store, needs to be removed from the centre.
TK Maxx is expected to move into what was the ground floor of the department store.
The first floor would then have family restaurants as well as the Vue cinema entrance.
No-one from Cornerstone was able to comment on the cause of the delay, but a spokeswoman for Vue said the company was still planning to open in Ipswich.
She added: “At the moment we have no word on timings for that, but it is still happening.”
The new cinema is seen as vital to reviving the town centre and attracting more people into the town centre during the evening – and was approved by the borough last year.
Meanwhile the town’s existing Cineworld has this week opened a new Starbucks coffee shop which is open from early in the morning until late.
The coffee shop is one of a number that have been opened by the chain across the country as part of a national link-up with the chain.