The operator of the nine-screen cinema to be built on The Moor was revealed this week.
A growing chain called The Light is promising a mix of mainstream films, broadcasts of live arts and sports programmes and a strong range of food and drink for the complex earmarked for the site being cleared below Debenhams department store.
Altogether, there will be 1,600 seats. The biggest theatre will have 350, the smallest 80.
Scottish Widows Investment Property Partnership Trust, which is redeveloping much of The Moor, has reached a deal with The Light with a view to the cinema being open by around Easter 2016.
It is designed to especially attract customers from the south and west of Sheffield - those who not want to travel to the east end or even to the other side of the city centre.
“We have had independent research and it shows ample demand for a new cinema of this size, with good scope for growth of the next few years,” said Ranald Philips, director at Ashcroft, development managers for SWIPPT.
The Light was founded by John Sullivan and Keith Pullinger, who have extensive experience in the cinema industry and property development.
Its first cinema was in Bucharest in Romania in 2008 followed by Halle in Germany, the following year. The Moor is part of a UK expansion programme that has already seen a Light cinema in The Wirral on Merseyside and, from April, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
The company says it embraces the flexibility of digital cinema and offers more than the ‘popcorn and cola’ multiplexes.
General manager Phil Dove said: “We don’t have a standard formula, we work with the community to create something unique that they own and love.”
He added: “We always include a range of food and beverage offers catering for a wide range of tastes that will attract local people, whether or not they want to see a movie. That’s the secret of our success.”
Mr Philips said they were a “dynamic cinema operator. With them will come contemporary restaurants and we are currently speaking to leading names in the sector. Our vision is becoming a reality. Along with the new retail that has now taken hold during 2013, The Moor will provide an all day leisure hub for Sheffield’s city centre which will also boost its evening economy.”
Curzon Cinemas are aiming to convert an old bank in George Street into a four-screen cinema.
Restaurants and shops on the way
The Light will be part of a leisure and retail complex next to Debenhams, between The Moor and Charter Row.
The cinema will sit alongside seven restaurants, a new Primark store and four other shops.
It is hoped the shops will be trading for Christmas 2015 - another lift for The Moor where ‘footfall’ rose by another 20% last month.