Ceremony marks topping out of £45m Animate leisure complex

By Tim Aldred

18 Mar 2024

Animate Topping Out

A topping out ceremony has been held to mark the highest point of the build at Preston's £45m Animate leisure complex.

The project, anchored by an eight-screen cinema, is a key part of Preston's £200m city centre regeneration and one of six financed by the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme.

Animate is being brought forward by Maple Grove Developments, part of Preston-based contractor Eric Wright Group, in partnership with Preston City Council.  

The leisure complex is being built on the site of the former indoor market and car park and due to open to the public in early 2025. 

Almost fully pre-let, Animate will also feature a 16-lane bowling alley with gaming zone, five family restaurant units, a food hall, public realm, a competitive socialising unit and 164-space basement car park, with national leisure brands including

Hollywood Bowl, ARC Cinemas, Zizzi, Cosmo, Las Iguanas and Loungers already signed up as tenants. 

Those attending the topping out included Coun Yakub Patel, mayor of Preston City Council, Adrian Phillips, chief executive of the city council and Karen Hirst, managing director of Maple Grove Developments.

Coun Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, added: "Animate is the flagship project of the Harris Quarter regeneration programme, heralding a new era for Preston and its residents. Owned by the city council to benefit local people, the construction of Animate has involved local contractors and enhanced the skills and learning of young people with essential on-the-job experience. 

“Crucially, such development and regeneration forms a key part of the council's commitment to Community Wealth Building, designed to create a resilient and inclusive economy to benefit the whole area by offering an opportunity for local people to take back control while working with local institutions.” 

John Chesworth, chair of Preston Towns Fund Strategic Board, said: "The topping out represents another key moment in the delivery of Animate and in the ongoing renaissance of Preston as we progress our wider plans to create places for people.   

“Having secured high-profile and established national leisure brands, Animate will provide an unrivalled offering of activities to drive footfall and wider economic benefits for Preston and surrounding areas.”

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