A WRANGLE over the lease agreement for a mothballed cinema has forced the building’s grand relaunch as an entertainment complex to be postponed.
Entrepreneur Gerry Boyle – brother of singing sensation SuBo – said problems with reaching an agreement with site owner Duddingston House Properties [DHP] had delayed the re-opening of the former Odeon on Clerk Street.
The problems mean plans for SuBo to perform songs from a yet-to-be-released fifth album at the reopening have had to be shelved, with an alternative event arranged in Blackpool to satisfy booked talent.
But Mr Boyle said with paperwork now just days away from being finalised, passers-by could expect the To Lease sign hanging outside the disused cinema to be removed within the next fortnight.
The 58-year-old is looking to turn the building into an entertainment complex showcasing Las Vegas-inspired cabaret acts.
August 2 had originally been targeted as the date for relaunching the A-listed venue, which will be rebranded as The Instant Arena.
But Mr Boyle said reaching an agreement over the lease conditions with DHP had proven “a bit of a nightmare”.
He said: “Unfortunately, we’re about six months behind schedule because of this. Although we remain determined to open the place, it’s obviously not going to be for August 2. Everyone’s on hold.”
It is understood a disagreement over internal spending priorities added to delays.
Restoring the upstairs art deco auditorium into a 600-seat theatre venue and opening a downstairs coffee lounge and a first-floor tearooms and Champagne bar are among plans.
Champagne brand Laurent-Perrier has been in formal discussions to become a commercial partner in the venture for the next five years.
An artist’s impression, above, showing the design for the venue’s Champagne bar to be known as Scruples has been released for the first time today in a sign of the grand ambitions by Mr Boyle’s company An Instant World.
Mr Boyle still wants to hold a “soft” relaunch of the venue before the Festival is finished to reassure local residents the venue is “coming alive”.
He denied he had been overly ambitious by aiming for a major August reopening for an estimated start-up cost of just £250,000, adding: “Had we been able to agree all the clauses with the owners, that time was realistic.
“Our plans remain the same. It’s not are we going to do it, it’s when we’re going to do it. It’s going to be worth it. That’s why we’re riding the roller coaster.”
DHP managing director Bruce Hare denied negotiations over the building had been protracted, and said: “The lease is due for completion this week. Works will then commence by both our contractors and by An Instant World.”
The 1930s building has twice been threatened with demolition since it closed a decade ago.
Save the Odeon campaigner Tom Pate said: “I’m certain it’s going to happen. I don’t think there’s any sign that anyone’s going to walk away from this. It’s a shame it’s going to be so late, but the important thing is to get the building open.”