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Handover marks next stage of £83 million Plymouth Pavilions development
12:10pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in Devon
Major redevelopment plans for the Plymouth Pavilions site moved a step closer yesterday when the venue was transferred from City Council ownership to James Brent’s Five Directions Ltd (FDL).
An agreement signed by council leader Tudor Evans and James Brent in June will unlock £83 million of investment in the site, including a complete refurbishment of the existing arena in addition to a new full-size ice rink at Home Park.
As part of the refurbishment FDL will re-clad the Pavilions building, create a new entrance foyer, additional backstage and support spaces, improve lighting and acoustics and increase capacity.
The plans also include residential and retail development, creating a link between Millbay and the city centre in what is hoped will trigger wider regeneration in the West End of the city centre.
In addition to the redevelopment of the Pavilions arena, a new international scale ice arena will be built on the car park next to Plymouth Argyle Football Club’s Home Park stadium.
This will provide the city with a sporting and leisure facility that will complement the Plymouth Life Centre and the football club’s proposed new grandstand.
Theatre Royal (Plymouth) Limited (TRP) will continue to operate the existing ice rink and arena facilities at the Pavilions on behalf of FDL.
Gavin Marshall, previously programming and marketing director, has been appointed general manager and now heads all business activities for the company, from arena programming and conferencing to the ice rink and catering/bar facilities.
The contract signed by the council and FDL in June stipulates that the ice rink and arena will continue to operate while plans for the Pavilions and Home Park sites are being drawn up and that this facility will be maintained during the redevelopment works.
Adrian Vinken, chief executive of Theatre Royal (Plymouth) Limited, said: “We’re delighted that the future of the arena and ice facilities in the city has been secured for the people of Plymouth and that our charity will continue to be responsible for their management.
“We look forward to working with James and his FDL colleagues to improve the city’s leisure offer and grow Pavilions audiences visiting our city.”
James Brent, chairman of Akkeron Group (which includes FDL), said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of the Pavilions. This is another important step in establishing Plymouth as the centre of sporting, leisure and cultural excellence in the South West peninsula.
“The redevelopment of the Pavilions will link the city to its stunning waterfront and kick-start regeneration in the West End. It will also generate a significant number of jobs, in the short-term in construction, and in the medium-term in the new facilities.
Council leader Tudor Evans described it as “a significant milestone” in what would be one of the biggest investments in Plymouth for many years.
“These are hugely exciting plans that will not only deliver more high quality sport and leisure facilities in Plymouth but also provide a welcome boost to the regeneration of the city centre’s West End, as well as the local economy.
“The new-look Pavilions will boast top-rate arena facilities that will help attract more events and conferences to Plymouth.
“It will also help to open the gateway to Millbay from the city centre, which has been a long-held aspiration of the City Council and a key element of the Mackay Vision for Plymouth.
“We are delighted to be handing the Pavilions over to FDL today and look forward to seeing its vision for the site become a reality.”