THE multi-million pound project to re-invigorate Chester’s cultural offerings has taken another step forward after being given a new name.
The £37.5m development to deliver a theatre, library and cinema has been named RE: NEW, to signify the transformation of the former Odeon cinema on Northgate Street into an iconic cultural centre.
The name will accompany the centre until it is formally named prior to its opening in 2016.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for Culture and Economy for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “RE: NEW is a fitting name given this project is all about breathing new life into an iconic 1930s building.
“The name also signifies the enormous regeneration potential of the new cultural centre.
“We estimate its economic impact to be £21m per year – creating jobs and bringing wealth into the region.
“RE: NEW can already been seen on the Commerce House demolition site and the name will be used in a variety of imaginative ways as this exciting development gathers pace.”
The naming of the project comes weeks after CWaC announced that they had purchased the required land assets to from ING Real Estate Development, who were behind a previous failed bid to deliver the Northgate Development, to help them move them forward in their bid to deliver the overall £300m regeneration of the Northgate Street area, something which Cllr Mike Jones, leader of the Conservative-led council, claimed was a “truly momentous moment for Chester.”
Andrew Bentley of Chester Performs, the Chester-based arts producer which will run the new theatre, said: “It couldn’t be a better name for this truly transformational project.
“The new cultural centre will completely transform the city’s main street, and its night-time economy.
“It’s so heartening to see the first signs of the building starting to take shape.”
The 800-seat theatre, with an orchestra pit and extensive backstage facilities,will be housed in a new building, linked to the existing by open foyer spaces.
The Grade II listed Odeon itself is to be restored and converted into a contemporary city library, including a café, study spaces and a 120-seat screen located on the former cinema balcony.
Fully equipped to receive touring productions, the main theatre auditorium will also convert into a 500-seat venue to support Chester-based productions.
A separate 150-seat studio will provide flexible rehearsal and education space.
The Northgate scheme is expected to create more than 200 construction jobs and about 1,600 full-time jobs.