Multi Development secures Odeon as an anchor for the leisure element of its £320m mixed-use Victoria Square scheme in Belfast.

Multi Development has secured the UK’s largest cinema chain Odeon as an anchor for the leisure element of its £320m mixed-use Victoria Square scheme in Belfast.

The cinema operator will operate an eight-screen 1,800 seat cinema at the 800,000 sq ft (74,320 sq m) scheme. Odeon has signed a 25 year lease for the 46,000 sq ft (4,275 sq m) facility which will be situated on the second level of the scheme.

There will also be around 70,000 sq ft (6,500 sq m) of restaurant space provided on the same level. Odeon has more than 100 cinemas across the UK and accounts for nearly a third of all movie tickets sold in the UK.

Multi and its funder CGI, the German open-ended fund manager, have already secured House of Fraser, H&M, Virgin, local jewellers Lunns and Goldsmiths, River Island, Urban Outfitters and Q-Park, which will operate the 1,000 space basement car park. Zone A rents at Victoria Square are around £230. Paul Sargent, managing director of Multi says Victoria Square is more than 50% prelet with a further nine deals still to be announced.

Multi is also said to be in advanced negations with two retailers for is second 50,000 sq ft (4,645 sq m) anchor. Fashion retailer Next and Marks and Spencer which were both linked to this anchor unit have announced that they will stay in their current locations on Donegall Place.

Richard Green, Multi’s UK leasing manager, said: ‘Signing the UK’s leading cinema operator is a tremendous achievement for us. Not only is Odeon much loved by the movie going public it will also introduce a new entertainment experience to Victoria Square and Belfast. This is in line with out strategy to secure the newest concepts in leisure and retail to Victoria Square.’

Ken Taylor, property development director at Odeon Cinemas, said: ‘Odeon is delighted to be involved in this major redevelopment in the heart of the city. The Victoria Square site will be our first cinema in Northern Ireland and we’re very excited about bring the Odeon cinema experience to the city of Belfast.’

Construction of the scheme is under way and the centre will open in March 2008. The first phase of the release of the scheme’s 106 flats will be launched to the market in autumn. Donaldsons and Hamilton Osborne King are the letting agents at Victoria Square.