The operator will revamp the premises, initially ahead of a May opening then on a rolling basis. Credit: via Creo

Omniplex on board as Sunniside push ramped up

The void left by the departure of Empire will be filled by the Irish operator, the cinema building’s owner Sunderland City Council said.

Omniplex is aiming to open in May, and intends to carry out a 12-month rolling programme of refurbishments and new elements at the venue in Sunniside, which is emerging as an area of regeneration focus for the city.

Among the plans are electric, fully-reclining seats, and food and drink carts as a festival-style atmosphere is encouraged.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have so quickly secured a new cinema operator to ensure residents and visitors to the city can enjoy a great day out in Sunderland.

“We have worked really hard to attract a new cinema operator as quickly as possible because we know that this is an important amenity that people value.

“When it opens, I would urge residents to vote with their feet and use the cinema as well as the other leisure facilities on their doorstep. We really do need to back our businesses to ensure their success.”

Paul John Anderson, director of the Omniplex Cinema Group, said: “We understand the cinema’s importance to the local community, so we’re investing in its renovation. With the refurbishment taking place over the next eighteen months, customers can look forward to new luxury seating and sofa beds across all 12 screens as well as an enhanced food and beverage offering.”

The venue will act as a key anchor for Sunniside, which has been earmarked as a key priority of Sunderland City Council, as it looks to augment the work undertaken to develop neighbouring Riverside Sunderland.

A Sunniside place strategy is currently making its way through various levels of the city council, with the cabinet passing judgment on the emerging document this month.

The strategy creates a framework for investment and development which will help to unlock Sunniside’s vast potential, delivering new homes that will create a sustainable residential population, supporting the growth of its burgeoning creative and business community, strengthening its leisure and recreation offer, introducing an exciting programme of events and activities that will bring more people to the area, creating a more vibrant and attractive place.

In the kind of project Sunderland is keen to encourage, a student accommodation scheme has this month been approved in the area.

Cllr Miller added: “Sunniside is an exciting part of the city centre, with some stunning natural assets, architectural beauty, and phenomenal potential. Agreeing a strategy for the area is the first step in harnessing its strengths, unlocking its enormous potential.

“We have seen the rate of change that has been achieved at Riverside Sunderland, and our ambition is to deliver similar transformation in Sunniside, in a way that is sustainable and that builds on the unique character of the place and supports the communities that call it home.”

Agents Lofthouse & Partners and @retail are instructed on F&B, and Stärka is working with the council on leisure opportunities.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Related Articles

Subscribe for free

Stay updated on the latest news and views in North East property


Keep updated on the latest news, deals, views and opportunities in North East property, in your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to Place Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below