Empire Cinemas signs up to open in Poole town centre

CGI of proposed cinema at the Dolphin Centre, Poole

Empire Cinemas has signed a 25-year lease with LGIM Real Assets to open at the Dolphin shopping centre in Poole. The proposed nine-screen attraction will be the first multiplex in the town centre. Together with four new restaurants, it will create a strong daytime and evening attraction for the south coast town.

Planning permission is being sought to redevelop the former Argos store and adjoining units into a new-build cinema complex, complete with four casual dining restaurants. Due to open at the end of 2018, the scheme, at the heart of the shopping centre, will help generate more vibrancy and appeal for the town centre as a whole.

Poole is a major holiday destination and tourist spend within the Dolphin centre is consistently high. Subject to final planning approval, one of the nine screens will be open-air on the rooftop, giving a memorable experience for holidaymakers and locals alike.

Justin Ribbons, Chief Executive Officer of Empire Cinemas, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with LGIM Real Assets and to be returning to Poole as part of The Dolphin Centre, Dorset’s largest covered shopping destination. With 9 screens, including Empire’s own large format IMPACT® Screen, D-Box and an open-air, rooftop screen, we hope Empire Cinemas will further improve the area’s leisure offer and evening economy, alongside a host of new dining choices arriving to the Centre.”

LGIM Real Assets bought the largest covered shopping centre in Dorset in 2013 and is working on an 18-month improvement programme that will be completed at the end of 2018. It recently reached agreement with the Borough of Poole to restructure the existing headlease arrangements into a single, longer lease unlocked a £26 million programme of investment. The improvement programme will focus on an internal mall refresh, as well as improvements to the open-air Falkland Square and Kingland Crescent including work to the public realm and eye-catching shop facades.

Mark Russell, Senior Fund Manager at LGIM Real Assets, said: “The introduction of this exciting multiplex cinema together with an array of  dining choices will provide significant additional amenity for visitors to the Dolphin Centre.  This latest investment will further shift the Centre towards a truly family-oriented offer, and bring an element of trade that will extend into the evenings, giving more reasons for residents and tourists alike to visit throughout the day.”

The dining and leisure offer has been boosted recently with the arrival of new cafes, bars and restaurants, such as Delfino Lounge, Starbucks and ice cream parlour Sprinkles.

Covering some 530,000 sq ft, the Dolphin Centre is home to over 100 retail, restaurant and leisure brands from independent boutiques to top national names. It is anchored by Marks & Spencer, Primark and Beales department store, and is home to popular brands such as River Island, New Look, Next, Boots, Clarks and Pandora.

The Dolphin centre has annual footfall of 11m. Joint leasing agents are Colliers International and Lunson Mitchenall. Architect for the improvement programme is TP Bennett.