IT IS regarded as one of the city centre’s grot spots, Lime Street, with its decaying buildings and cinemas.
Liverpool developers Neptune have now produced images to show their vision of the future.
The two big pubs that act as bookends will stay, and so will an old terrace of shops next to the Crown.
It will be curtains for the old Futurist and its one-time cinematic neighbour, the Scala, to make way for a new development of guess what, student flats. Yes, there will be retail and hotel elements to the scheme.
But campaigners pleading for the restoration of the ornate Futurist must be fuming at the thought of a once fabulous theatre of dreams giving way to yet more student flats.
The Futurist Campaign has put forward rival plans that would see the restoration of the cinema as part of the Lime Street facelift.
Stylish historic architecture like the Futurist helps Liverpool stand out from the crowd – caring about it asserts the city as a smart, successful and confident of our place in the world, says the campaign website. “The Futurist is one of those magical buildings that connects us all to our shared past, adding elegance and glamour to one of Liverpool’s most famous streets,” it adds.
Given the importance of Lime Street, people were expecting something stunning, rather than a carbon copy of many of the other student billets that now dominate the city centre. Even Maggie May probably wouldn’t want to wonder along Lime Street any more if this is the best we can come up with.
What is hailed as a major regeneration initiative is being undertaken on behalf of Regeneration Liverpool and, says Neptune, involves the clearance of a series of run down buildings in this important City Centre street and the development of a high quality scheme with retail hotel and student accommodation.
Across the road the old ABC cinema is destined for a new life as a music and leisure venue.
The arrival of multiplex cinemas made picture palaces like the ABC, the Futurist and the Scala, all redundant.
Neptune says the Regeneration Liverpool project involves the £9m refurbishment of the former ABC Cinema as part of our overall development proposals for the area. The project will involve the creation of a new Auditoria and Venue with associated restaurants as part of a new concept brand to be launched in 2015.
The old cinema is Grade II listed mainly because of its grand interior. It is described as the finest work of celebrated cinema designer William R Glenn. The building has been unused since its closure in January 1998.