Land Securities picked for Empire redevelopment

Thu 27 December 2012, 9:19 am

Ealing Council has chosen Land Securities as its preferred development partner for the site of the former Empire Cinema.

The choice indicates the authority still intends to push for a Compulsory Purchase Order on the Uxbridge Road site, despite apparent signs of development work restarting earlier this month.

In the summer, Ealing called for expressions of interest in developing the site after current owners Empire Cinemas failed to commence work on a scheme approved in 2004. Demolition work on the old cinema began in 2008.

Land Securities, Salmon Harvestor, and Wilson Bowden were all shortlisted in October after submitting their alternative schemes.

Council Leader Julian Bell said the authority was now “firmly committed” to building Ealing’s new cinema quarter, which could also include a tie-up with the world famous Ealing Studios.

“We gave Empire every opportunity to build a new cinema and yet four years later the site is still derelict,” he said.

“We are now progressing without them through a compulsory purchase order. 

“With Land Securities on board, we will secure the new cinema that Ealing needs.”

The authority wants to see a comprehensive mixed-use development linking the cinema with the town centre and Walpole Park. 

It said the site had potential for restaurants, retail, residential, cultural industries, art galleries and performance spaces extending south from the cinema towards Ealing Studios.

Land Securities development director Nick Davis said he believed Ealing had great potential.

“This cinema quarter scheme will have a hugely positive effect on the town centre,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the council to ensure that a high-quality leisure scheme is delivered which provides the long-awaited cinema for the original home of the British film industry."

Earlier this month, contractors working for Empire Cinemas were seen to be conducting foundation work at the site, however Ealing Council has been dismissive of the significance of the work.

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