First glimpse of proposed Athlone cinema extension

Story by Adrian Cusack

Friday, 11th January, 2019 2:58pm

First glimpse of proposed Athlone cinema extension

A design image showing what the proposed extension and redevelopment of Athlone IMC Cinema would look like.

Plans for the redevelopment and extension of Athlone's IMC cinema say the work would help to provide customers with a "luxury cinema experience".

The planning application was submitted shortly before Christmas and includes design images showing what the completed project would look like. 

It's proposed that the six screen facility in Golden Island would be extended to ten screens, although the installation of new, large-format seating means the overall number of seats in the cinema would remain the same as today (821 seats).

A report submitted as part of the planning application says the work would allow for "a greater film offering and alternative content such as Met Opera Live, etc.

"In addition, Galactic screens (large-format screens) and VIP screens will enhance the customer offering."

The plans state that the upgraded cinema would create jobs for ten additional staff members.

The 1,301 square metre extension would include a new 250sq m restaurant unit that would be constructed by the cinema's owners but would then be owned by "owners of the Golden Island Shopping Centre" who would manage "any future associated tenancy" at the restaurant.

"No specific tenants" for the restaurant unit had been identified at the time when the application was submitted.

The 1,301 square metre extension adds to the cinema's existing footprint by 70%, and would result in a loss of thirty car parking spaces "in the immediate vicinity" of the development.

To counteract this, there is a proposal to "reconfigure an unused loading bay, adjoining the shopping centre car park, to provide an additional 33 car parking spaces," thus leading to an overall increase of three spaces.

The planning application on behalf of Cinema Properties Ltd was lodged by Brian Dunlop Architects, based in Kilkenny, on December 20.

It cites research by the applicant which concludes that an expected population increase will lead to a heightened demand for cinema services in Athlone in the years ahead.

"Based on our client's research, it is expected that the population of Athlone and the catchment area for this cinema would continue to grow over the coming years, which would result in additional demand for cinema services.

"It has been identified that, to improve viability, the cinema service offering must adapt and requirements for VIP-style screens, Galactic screens, etc, must be facilitated.

"The additional screens proposed will allow the existing cinema to offer a luxury cinema experience," the report states.

A new concession area and new stone cladding at the existing cinema building are also proposed as part of the project.

Public submissions on the plans can be lodged up until Friday, February 1, while Westmeath County Council is due to make a decision on application by February 22.

 

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