Three restaurants sign on to Animate

By Tim Aldred

02 Nov 2022

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Animate, the new multi-million-pound leisure and entertainment complex which recently got the go ahead to be developed in Preston city centre, has reached three-quarters occupancy after it secured three well-known restaurants as tenants.

The three operators, all of which are new to Preston, include Italian restaurant Zizzi which is taking 3,250 sq ft on the main terrace which fronts Preston’s market canopy; Latin American bar and restaurant Las Iguanas and world buffet operator Cosmo which will take 11,000 sq ft on the upper floor.

The scheme’s restaurant offer will complement the two lead anchor operators Hollywood Bowl, which has signed on for the 16-lane bowling alley and gaming zone and Arc Cinema which has taken 30,000 sq ft for an eight-screen venue.

The project is being delivered for Preston City Council by its development partner, Maple Grove Developments. Main contractor Eric Wright Construction is set to start work on the construction phase in January 2023 and the restaurants are expected to be operational once the scheme opens in late 2024.

Marc Ward, head of acquisitions for Azzurri Group which owns Zizzi, said: “Preston has been a long-standing target for Zizzi. We have been working with Maple Grove and Preston City Council for many years to bring this development to fruition and are very pleased to be part of this exciting leisure and restaurant hub at the centre of this major UK city.”

Coun Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, said: “The strength of these three popular restaurants agreeing to sign before the main construction phase begins, is testament to this game-changing development which is now 75 per cent let. This shows an exceptional level of confidence in a scheme that will make a big difference to the regeneration of Preston’s leisure, entertainment and cultural offer.

“Animate will remain in the ownership of the council for the people of Preston and will be central in delivering secure, long-term jobs, skills and training opportunities, and will boost footfall into the city centre, supporting our cultural economy and retail core. As part of the construction and development phase local suppliers will be a significant feature alongside local community initiatives further supporting our vision of an inclusive economy.”

The scheme is part funded by Towns Fund investment (£3.4m) and City Deal (£3.25m). Animate will provide more than 140 long term skilled jobs for local people, including construction employment and training opportunities throughout the building works.

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