English Partnerships Appoints Urban Splash to Develop Lime Street's Art Deco ABC Cinema

National regeneration agency English Partnerships has appointed award winning property developer Urban Splash as preferred developer to transform Lime Street’s art deco ABC cinema in Liverpool into a New York-style supper club and boutique hotel.

The cinema dates from 1931 but has lain vacant for nine years. It was acquired by English Partnerships with a view to bringing it back into economic use and assisting the wider regeneration of Lime Street.

Three viewing days held for property developers in January subsequently attracted more than 20 organisations.

The proposals from Urban Splash include conversion of the main upper auditorium into a luxury New York-style ‘supper club’, which will be accessed via the main ground floor foyer and lobby; conversion of two smaller cinema screens on the ground floor into new retail leisure units with independent access from Lime Street; and a boutique hotel on the top floor.

Paul Spooner, Regional Director of English Partnerships, said, “The ABC cinema building is Grade II listed and many of the internal features must be retained and enhanced. Integral to the plans is Urban Splash’s commitment to comprehensively and sensitively refurbish the cinema to its former glory. This is a fantastic-looking building on a key site in the city and we are very excited by the concept presented which will enable it to play a key role in Liverpool’s vibrant social scene once again. “

Bill Maynard, Managing Director of Urban Splash, said, “This high profile building is an important part of Liverpool’s architectural history. We are very keen to restore this architectural gem and its glorious interior will form a magnificent backdrop for the proposed supper club.”

Jim Gill OBE, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, said, “The ABC cinema is a building with an important place in Liverpool’s history. Because of its Grade II listing and existing layout, it is a challenging building to redevelop. The scheme requires an imaginative developer and Urban Splash has the experience to deliver a quality scheme.”

The 961 sq m former cinema, with its six-storey curved Portland stone façade, is one of the city’s most familiar buildings, adjacent to its World Heritage Site and across from Lime Street station. It is an integral part of Liverpool Vision’s ambitious regeneration programme for the city centre, and is within walking distance of its cultural quarter (St George’s Hall, Walker Art Gallery and City Library), theatres, hotels and the £920-million retail-led Liverpool One redevelopment scheme.

Work on cleaning the stone exterior of the cinema - to improve its appearance in the short term – is currently being undertaken by English Partnerships.

Urban Splash has commissioned local firm Snook Architects to work on detailed design proposals for the building.

Plans are to be submitted for approval in July 2008 with work expected to start on site in late 2008 and be completed by mid 2010.

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