An arthouse cinema has revealed hopes of expanding into a landmark fire station earmarked for closure.

Jon Barrenechea, manager of the Duke of York's Picturehouse in Beaconsfield Road, Brighton, said taking over the neighbouring Preston Circus fire station would provide a long-needed expansion opportunity.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) revealed earlier this month that it was looking into options for moving out of the landmark 1938 building because of its high maintenance costs.

Mr Barrenechea said he had already made enquiries into the possibility of buying the site.

He said: "Our business is an expanding one and the fire station would be perfect for us. We'd like to use it to do more of the same things that the Duke of York's does well.

"We'd hope to develop at least two extra cinema screens and use it the same way that we do the existing building – as a cinema, music and comedy venue with gallery space, a restaurant and bar.

"There's definitely a demand for it. We only have one screen at the moment and it's not enough."

Mr Barrenechea said he would want to keep the fire station's "architecturally interesting" frontage as part of any development.

He said: "We certainly wouldn't want to knock it down, it's an asset we'd love to use."

ESFRS confirmed there had been contact with the cinema but said the building was not yet up for sale.

Assistant chief fire officer Gary Walsh, responsible for property, said: "We have still got to find land in Brighton and make sure we have got planning permission before we can look to sell.

"We are a public authority so when we do reach that stage we have to sell at the best price, we can't take into account the popularity of different plans or anything like that."

The fire service hopes to have a new fire station operational by 2014. It has budgeted to raise at least £1.5million through the sale.

St James's Investments, the group working with Tesco on a masterplan for the London Road area, has also been revealed as being interested in the site.

The developers have already been involved in a Tesco supermarket expansion plan in Uckfield which, if it goes ahead, would see the town's fire station moved.

The Duke of York cinema is part of the Picturehouse group owned by City Screen, which runs 18 venues across the country. Mr Barrenechea said the firm had the financial backing to pay a competitive commercial rate for the fire station.

Keith Taylor, who represents the Preston Circus area on Brighton and Hove City Council, said: "The Duke of York is one of the jewels in the crown of this city. Clearly it would be a tremendous asset if they could expand into the fire station building."