Poll: Former Odeon cinema could again show films as it goes up for auction at half original £1million asking price
06:00 29 January 2014
A town centre eyesore will have its asking price slashed when it goes up for auction next month – but could still be used for its original purpose.
The former Odeon cinema at the junction of St Margaret’s Street and Woodbridge Road was built in 1991 but closed in August 2005.
It had become unable to cope with the competition from what is now the Cineworld cinema on Cardinal Park and has lain empty ever since.
Despite several new owners and proposals to turn it into a leisure complex no one has yet been able to give the building a new lease of life.
In September last year current owners Premier Leisure (Suffolk) instructed property agents Savills to put the five-screen cinema on the market for £1million.
But as the building still hasn’t been sold it will instead be put up for auction next month.
And in an effort to shift the property the guide price has been cut to just £500,000.
Chris Moody, the agent at Savills tasked with selling the 29,900 square-foot property, said: “It’s just to bring it to a conclusion.
“In the interest of having closure an auction with a set date is the right way to go.
“We’ve had good interest for different uses from a variety of people.”
In terms of what potential new owners could do with the building, Mr Moody said those who had been to view it represented a range of companies.
“We’ve had a real variety, and that does include a cinema operator,” he added.
If the building was to return to use as a cinema however that could leave Ipswich swamped with four venues for film lovers.
One of its main competitors would be Cineworld, which has 11 screens, the capability to show Imax movies and is close to the town centre with ample car parking, something lacking at the Major’s Corner site now the Crown Street multi-story has been knocked down.
Then there is the two-screen Ipswich Film Theatre based right in the town centre, in the basement of the Corn Exchange on King Street.
Finally there is the proposed opening of a Vue cinema with nine screens in the Buttermarket shopping centre, although work on this was supposed to start in the middle of last year, take 12 months to complete and be open by summer this year.
The auction will be conducted by Savills at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square on February 11.