THE redevelopment of a historic cinema site looks set to get underway after more than two years’ intermission.
Brighton and Hove City councillors are being encouraged to grant plans for the demolition of the Grade II listed Astoria and transformation into a six-storey office, restaurant and residential block.
Initial consent for the renovation of the site in Gloucester Place, Brighton, was granted in 2012 but since then owner Mike Holland has been back to the drawing board to create office space that more closely meets market demand.
The Brighton entrepreneur said if planning permission is granted tomorrow, he would look to sell the site and hopes developers could come in and make his plans a reality within two years.
He said: “The idea is to get the tweaks approved and then find someone to build and develop it.
“I won’t develop myself. I will sell it.
“I am so busy with the stables at Stanmer, a development in Haywards Heath and major development at the Engineerium so we would be holding it up if it was a matter of waiting for us to do it.”
The new planning application is seeking permission for a similar variable six to two-storey building including restaurants and office space in an estimated £7 million conversion project.
The major changes to previous applications will see six flats built in the top floor of the six-storey building and more open plan office space.
A taller part-three part-four storey wing is included in the new plans as well as a courtyard garden space for general use and roof terrace and balconies connected to offices.
The plans are opposed by the Twentieth Century Society, The Theatres Trust, The Cinema Theatre Association but not by English Heritage.
The Astoria operated as a cinema between 1933 and 1977 and most recently operated as a bingo hall until 1997 since then it has laid dormant.
Phil Graves, from estate agents Graves Jenkins, who advised Mr Holland on the new plans, said: “After the original consent was granted, we spoke to potential occupier interest and soon found out that the plans were not quite what they wanted.
“The trend is now more for single floor and open plan so we have worked on creating a more flexible space.
“The whole North Laine area is becoming more popular with all the redundant sites becoming regenerated and is complementing the work done by the London Road Traders Association.”