Cinema giant Odeon can today be revealed as the chain behind plans to open a new nine-screen complex in Walsall.
It would be part of a £12 million leisure scheme at the town centre Waterfront, which, it is hoped, will bring more than 250 jobs.
New bars, shops and restaurants would also be created as part of the new development.
Odeon, which is the largest cinema chain in the country with more than 100 sites, is in direct competition with rival firm Vue to open in the town centre.
Cordwell Property Group is hoping to build its own £5 million leisure complex with a Vue cinema, bars and restaurants next to the town’s Tesco store, promising to create 200 jobs. An application for that has been submitted.
Kier Property, which is behind the Waterfront project, was today holding a public exhibition about the plan at The New Art Gallery Walsall. The 64,500sq ft scheme, earmarked for the north side of the canal, includes 36,800sq ft of space for restaurants and bars, as well as around 200 car parking spaces.
Bosses behind the scheme today said it would help revitalise the town centre to bringing more people in.
It will also lead to improved pedestrian links to the town centre and railway station.
A planning application is due to be submitted later this month.
James Nicholson, Kier Property’s senior development manager, said: “We’re delighted Odeon has agreed to be part of this prestigious development.
“With the site designated as the town’s preferred location for a leisure destination, our proposals will play an important part in providing an economic boost for the town centre by creating new jobs and attracting additional footfall.
“We’re looking forward to hearing what local people and businesses have to say about our proposals before we submit a planning application.”
He said there had already been a lot of positive feedback to the scheme.
It would be the first picture house in Walsall town centre since 1993 when ABC Cinema, in the former Woolworth’s building at the top of Park Street, closed after more than 50 years.
There is also a Showcase Cinema in Bentley Mill Way, Bentley.