Arthouse cinema plan for new St James Centre

An artist's impression of plans for the St James development. Picture: contributed

An artist's impression of plans for the St James development. Picture: contributed

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THE revamped St James Centre is to feature an “arthouse” cinema offering festival and live event screenings, the Evening News has learned.

City leader Andrew Burns said a multi-screen venue at the £850 million mall would not be in “direct competition” with the Vue multiplex at Omni Centre.

Bosses at developers TH Real Estate have confirmed they expect the movie theatre to screen “live events and festivals”, as well as blockbusters.

It is understood the St James cinema would offer private competition to the Filmhouse and Cameo, two of the Capital’s most historic and long-standing cinemas.

Fresh detail on the plan also comes after Stefan King’s G1 group last year unveiled proposals to turn the former Odeon in Clerk Street into a film theatre and restaurant.

Cllr Burns said: “[The St James] is not just shops.

“There will be a lot more. It’s very big. There will be a multi-screen cinema as well.

“You might think, ‘this is just across the road from Omni at Greenside’. I’m not saying it won’t be in competition at all but it’s quite a different cinema - I think, a more arthouse-type complex and very different from what’s on offer in that bit of the city centre.”

He added: “I genuinely don’t think it will be in direct competition with the multiplex.”

St James developers are also said to be targeting at least one Michelin-starred restaurant as part of a bid to ensure the centre’s overall offering is as high quality as possible.

Demolition of the existing building at the east end of Princes Street will begin in May.

The St James Quarter was given the go-ahead last July, with the controversial “ribbon” hotel at its centre granted permission the following month.

Martin Perry, director of development at TH Real Estate, said: “The multi-screen premium cinema at Edinburgh St James will be best-in-class and a first for the city, offering a new level of high-quality experience, with capabilities to screen live events and festivals, as well as the latest blockbuster movies.”

Edinburgh St James is a 1.7 million sq ft city centre development and one of the biggest regeneration projects currently under way in the UK. Once complete, it will provide 850,000 sq ft of retail space, five-star hotel accommodation and up to 250 new private residential apartments.

Linking Princes Street to Multrees Walk in a series of crescents, and boasting a retail and hospitality training academy, the district is forecast to support more than 3000 permanent jobs.

It is scheduled for completion by 2020.

Cllr Burns added: “I am delighted the council has played its part in helping unlock £850m of private sector investment at the heart of our city centre.

“Not only will it provide much-needed premium retail space for the city, it will also contain 250 new homes, 30 restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and a five-star, world class hotel.”

The St James Centre site and the adjacent New St Andrew House office complex were built in 1973, and are located within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

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