Preston Animate cinema reaches highest point in construction

Posted on - 19th March, 2024 - 1:18pm | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
The Animate site looking from Orchard Street Pic: Blog Preston

A key moment in the development of the new cinema and leisure complex in Preston city centre has been reached.


Known as ‘topping out’ the £45million scheme along Ringway and towering over the Market Hall is now at the highest point of construction.

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Due to open in early 2025 the Animate cinema will be an eight-screen cinema, 16-lane bowling alley, gaming zone, five family restaurants, a food hall and also include a new 164-space car park. An original opening date was given as 2024 but the scheme has slipped back slightly.

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Hollywood Bowl, ARC Cinemas, Zizzi, Cosmo, Las Iguanas and Loungers are already signed up to be within the new restaurant units.


Leader of Preston City Council, councillor Matthew Brown, said: “Animate is the flagship project of the Harris Quarter regeneration programme, heralding a new era for Preston and its residents. Owned by the city council to benefit local people, the construction of Animate has involved local contractors and enhanced the skills and learning of young people with essential on-the-job experience.

“Crucially, such development and regeneration forms a key part of the council’s commitment to Community Wealth Building, designed to create a resilient and inclusive economy to benefit the whole area by offering an opportunity for local people to take back control while working with local institutions.”

Part of the funding for the scheme comes from central government’s Towns Fund initiative which gave £20.9m for the city’s ‘Harris Quarter’ – some of which has been spent on the Animate cinema.

Chair of Preston Towns Fund Strategic Board and chairman of Preston Partnership, John Chesworth said: “The topping out represents another key moment in the delivery of Animate and in the ongoing renaissance of Preston as we progress our wider plans to create places for people.

“Having secured high-profile and established national leisure brands, Animate will provide an unrivalled offering of activities to drive footfall and wider economic benefits for Preston and surrounding areas.”

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Build and management of the scheme is being overseen by Maple Grove Developments.

Managing director Karen Hirst said: “This milestone in the delivery of Animate marks the highest point of the build and the successful culmination of the collaborative efforts of the client, design, and construction teams.

“Animate is an exemplar of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together in partnership to great effect for the wider community and economy of Preston.”

Representatives from the city council, Towns Fund and Maple Grove on the top of the Animate development

Read more: Opinion: 2024 marks a foundational year for Preston city centre’s redevelopment

Those gathered for the ‘topping out’ included Beckie Joyce, RADICS Consulting and Preston Partnership Board Member, Matt Cowburn, Cowburn Watson Box and Preston Partnership Board Member, Adrian Phillips, CEO Preston City Council, Deputy Leader, Cllr Martyn Rawlinson, Karen Hirst, Managing Director Maple Grove Developments, Mayor of Preston, Cllr Yakub Patel, Andrew Dewhurst, Director, Maple Grove Developments, Matt Friedmann, Senior Project Manager, Eric Wright Group, Chris Hayward, Director of Development, Preston City Council and Julie Palmer, Regeneration Manager, Preston City Council.

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