Arc Cinema announces management of Preston Market cinema

Lively complex

The Arc Cinema will be the second anchor tenant of Animate, the £40 million cinema and entertainment complex owned by the City of Preston.


The cinema will have eight screens and joins Hollywood Bowl as a site tenant on the site of the former covered market parking lot and market hall.

Animate, which is delivered by Maple Grove Developments, will be located in the city’s former covered market and there will also be a food hall, new restaurants and bars, and a public realm.

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Andrew Dewhurst, Director of Development at Maple Grove Developments, said, “It couldn’t be better news to have a theater operator join Animate’s roster of tenants.

“With the planning now secure, in conjunction with Preston City Council, we now have the confidence to proceed with the detailed design in preparation for the start of construction.

“In addition to the Arc Cinema, four of the catering units are now on offer and we hope to be able to announce more names throughout the spring. Our aim is to start on site in October this year with practical completion expected in summer 2024.”

Brian Gilligan, Director of The Arc Cinema, said: “We are extremely proud and delighted to be an anchor of Preston’s Animate programme.

“Animate will be an incredible leisure destination when we and our project neighbors open in 2024 and its location in the heart of Preston’s bustling city center fits perfectly with The Arc Cinema’s ambitious expansion plans.

“We are truly looking forward to providing our customers with an unbeatable cinematic experience and will be looking to build a team of 30 happy and friendly people from the local community to look after our customers as they deserve.

“The Arc Cinema is passionate about delivering a supremely enjoyable and luxurious experience at everyday prices, and we think this unique combination is absolutely perfect for Preston.”

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Leader of Preston City Council, Councilor Matthew Brown, said: ‘The Animate development is a key project in Preston’s 15-year City Investment Plan and will help complete the long-awaited regeneration of our town center with the ‘property assets in the city so that Prestonian’s can benefit more directly.

“It is fantastic to see a growing independent leisure operator commit to the project and Preston which is a recognition of the attractiveness of investing in our community. Bringing tenants like Arc here will stimulate new investment and stimulate the local economy so that more people can benefit.

Animate is expected to drive economic growth and development in Preston and is expected to generate over £7 million of extra-economic activity a year while creating 140 full-time equivalent jobs.

The development is one of six major projects planned under Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund investment scheme, for which the city has received £20.9million from the government’s National Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.

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