Brunswick Centre: New owners confirm plans for town centre cinema in Scarborough
The new owners of the Brunswick Shopping Centre have confirmed plans to build a cinema in Scarborough town centre.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Scarborough Partnership Ltd, an associated company of Scarborough Group International (SGI), has bought the shopping centre for an undisclosed sum.
Scott McCabe, Director at SGI, said: "We’ve had initial conversations with some cinema operators, but nothing in any detail yet.
"Now that we have full control and ownership of the site we’re progressing that side of it, looking at feasibility studies for a cinema within the Brunswick. It’s an area we’re giving serious consideration."
The Brunswick on Westborough is the only enclosed shopping and leisure centre in the whole of the borough of Scarborough and currently provides 130,000 sq ft of prime retail space featuring 31 outlets with brands including Next, New Look and Holland & Barrett.
Mr McCabe said that a significant amount of work is involved in preparing a building for a cinema operator, with structural work needed. "You’re looking at a good two years before the site would be ready to have a cinema up and running," he said.
SGI is now in talks with Scarborough Borough Council to develop a new vision for the centre, incorporating a range of additional uses including leisure and food and drink, in order to cement it as the premier retail and leisure destination on the Yorkshire coast.
Town's nighttime economy to benefit
"If you look at other towns and cities where they have such facilities as cinemas, and attached to that other leisure uses such as restaurants it would increase footfall dramatically on an evening and give something that the residents want," said Mr McCabe.
"It would be a massive win for the town if a cinema operator was based in the town centre."
The centre had demonstrated a strong performance since opening in 1990, attracting an annual average footfall of 7 million at its peak.
However, changing consumer shopping habits, accelerated by the pandemic, resulted in a decline in footfall and the loss of its anchor tenant, Debenhams.
Scarborough Group International have experience delivering cinema and retail space having completed The Springs retail and leisure park on the outskirts of Leeds, which includes an Odeon Luxe.
Blueprint plan delivering investment
"We are from Scarborough, it’s our town and we want to do what’s best for Scarborough. We’re not buying it just to make a quick return, this is a longer-term project for us. We want to see the Brunswick and the town centre succeed."
Mr McCabe said they were drawn to invest in Scarborough after viewing the council's blueprint plan to transform the high street.
"It really started with seeing the blueprint for the town which was actioned by Scarborough Borough Council. We’ve had several conversations and we’re hugely impressed with the vision for the town and regenerating the town centre and wider town.
"It’s very exciting. We were in discussions with the previous owners for several months and we’re delighted now that we’ve concluded the acquisition and we can start working on plans to improve the Brunswick in the months and years ahead."