THE Daily Echo can today reveal the luxury cinema chain that has signed up to become part of Southampton's £70million city centre development.
National Amusements has sealed a deal which will see a plush Showcase Cinema de Lux built at Watermark WestQuay.
The first of its kind in the south, it will boast 10 screens, 3D screens and the latest in digital surround sound, and will create 150 new jobs.
The Showcase Cinema de Lux lounge
It will also offer a full service bar with a range of hot food for cinema-goers to tuck in to.
As reported by the Daily Echo, the derelict site next to the WestQuay Shopping Centre will be transformed into a complex boasting the cinema, up to 20 restaurants and bars and a stunning new public piazza after planning permission was granted.
Construction work is expected to start at the end of the year, and work on the leisure complex could be completed by the end of 2016.
The complex is expected to create 500 jobs, as well as up to 500 construction jobs.
Work on a second phase of development could begin within 18 months of the first phase being completed.
That would see a hotel, retail and office space, an underground car park and a residential tower up to 27 storeys high built there.
Developer Hammerson is negotiating with a number of restaurant names, including Jamie's Italian, Wahaca and Byron, but has now clinched the deal to provide the south's first Showcase Cinema de Lux.
National Amusements president Shari E Redstone said: “We are thrilled to introduce Showcase Cinema de Lux to Southampton and to partner with Hammerson on this new project.
“The superior entertainment experience Showcase Cinema de Lux offers is one you can't find elsewhere, and the exciting plans for Watermark WestQuay will make this location very popular with cinema-goers.”
The cinema's entrance hall
City council deputy leader Stephen Barnes-Andrews said: “Watermark WestQuay will invigorate the leisure economy within Southampton, in particular the night time economy.
“As well as providing a fabulous new facility for the city, residents and visitors alike, Watermark WestQuay will also bring hundreds of new jobs.
“I am pleased to hear that the new cinema operator will also be a first on the south coast, once again proving that Southampton is the place to be; the south coast city of choice.”
The new cinema will be just metres from the Odeon cinema in West Quay Road.
A spokesman for Odeon said: “Odeon is committed to maintaining its place in the Southampton area and we remain focused on serving local film fans with a selection of the best films and alternative content for years to come.”