THE long-awaited upgrade of the Theatre Royal moved a step closer this week after an application for the €5.3m project was lodged with City Council.
The City VEC is looking to transform the derelict Cecil Street venue into a digital cinema and multi-purpose cultural centre.
In a move which means the city centre will have its first cinema since the closure of the Savoy, the City VEC has applied to City Hall to partially demolish, refurbish and reconfigure two of the existing buildings on the site.
According to the plans, the site will then be developed to comprise four auditoria, a public foyer, a digital lounge, training rooms, editing and production suites, management offices and a cafe bar over four floors.
The project will create 30 construction jobs in a 12-month period, while it is hoped the new centre could welcome up to 2,000 extra people into the city at its proposed opening date of next year.
Detailed proposals with city planners show the project will be completed in two phases.
Phase one will see three of the four planned auditoria, a digital lounge, training rooms, social spaces and a large cafe/bar, while the second phase will see the redevelopment of the adjoining property at 29 Cecil Street into a digital incubation centre.
This will see office space for business start-ups, conferencing facilities, digital studios, a TV studio, and sound engineering facilities.
There will be a total of 384 seats in the new Theatre Royal, according to the plans.
Income from the cinemas will be used to “support the digital media, education and training, and arts functions.”
Students from primary level up to third level institutions are expected to benefit from the ‘Creative Digital Hub’ which will exist alongside the new cinemas.
It is hoped that digital media companies will also be attracted to the city. The old Theatre Royal has lain derelict for more than ten years. A decision is expected on this project by August.