Old bank in city centre is screened for cinema

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An old bank in Sheffield city centre is set to be converted into a four-screen cinema.

Curzon Cinemas are aiming to move into the listed building in George Street, between High Street and Norfolk Street, near The Crucible.

The group, which specialises in art house films, is looking to create four small auditoria within the former premises of the former Sheffield Banking Company, retaining the historic features.

Proposals, likely to result in an investment of about £2.5m, have been submitted for council approval.

Rob Kenny, director of cinema development, said progress depended on the response of the authority.

“If all goes to plan, we would be looking to open towards the middle of next year.

“We have got a lot of faith in Sheffield.

“We have looked at the demographics and existing cinemas and we feel there is a huge opportunity for us, that people will welcome us because we can offer something different.”

Curzon also distributes films and having its own cinema would give it control over where and how long they are shown. Some of its films are shown at The Showroom.

“We want to work with The Showroom,” said Mr Kenny. “We believe we can exist side by side.”

The scheme involves three small auditoria at ground level - with 66, 55 and 40 seats - and a VIP auditorium on the first floor with 22 seats.

The VIP section would have its own bar, all available for hire. There would be a bar in the basement and initial thinking is to offer food such as ‘British tapas’.

Mr Kenny said it would not be like a multiplex, but a small “boutique” cinema where people would want to spend the evening.

The bank was built at the end of the 18th century, and has been empty for many years.

Plans were submitted several years ago for conversion to a restaurant, but nothing materialised.

Curzon, which is expanding across the country, says it wants to incorporate features of the bank, such as the ornate bank hall ceiling, grand wooden entrance doors and the steel vaults in the basement into the design.

“We want people to see it used to be a bank. This is a lovely building and we could do something really fantastic.”

Meanwhile, negotiations are continuing with prospective cinema operators over a proposed ten-screen cinema as part of the redevelopment of The Moor. Already Scottish Widows Investment Property have cleared the site next to Debenhams ready for the construction of a cinema, restaurant and shops complex.