More than 100 jobs are to be created at the new £4.5m cinema in Craigavon, the ‘Times’ can reveal.
According to Omniplex owner Paul Anderson, the eight-screen cinema is scheduled to open in time for Easter next year.
Work is progressing quickly at the former Irish Road Motors site at Highfield and it is understood construction is to begin on the main structure next week.
Mr Anderson said around 30-35 full and part-time staff will be employed at the cinema with 65-70 staff in the four restaurants in the complex.
He said negotiations are under way with a number of outlets regarding the lease of the restaurants.
The Omniplex owner, who has a chain of cinema complexes across the whole of Ireland, said, “It’s great. There is no cinema in the Portadown, Lurgan or Craigavon area. We have cinemas in Armagh and Lisburn but it is great to give access to a cinema locally. It is an area we have been targeting for a very long time. It is fantastic and has been two years in the planning.”
Mr Anderson revealed the company had invested upwards on £4.5 million on this site in Craigavon.
The major development got the thumbs up from Craigavon Borough Council last month and builders were quickly on site.
HPA Architects which are based in Portadown are dealing with the build.
Omniplex is the largest cinema chain in the north, with other outlets including Armagh, Lisburn and Newry.
It is understood the previous owner of the Highfield site J H Turkington and Sons Ltd sold the site to Omniplex Ltd in recent months.
However, the ‘MAIL’ also understands that the Turkington firm is the main contractor building the cinema.
Prior to this an application had been submitted to the NI Planning Service by JH Turkington and Sons Ltd for an eight screen cinema complex, five restaurants units, a charity shop, youth activity centre, car parking and related works (amended proposal).
The main difference is a reduction in the number of restaurant outlets from five to four. The charity shop, which had been at the site for a number of years, moved recently prior to the building’s demolition.
The Craigavon area has been eagerly anticipating a new cinema particularly since Centrepoint in Lurgan closed a number of years ago.
Omniplex Group describes itself on its website as 100% Irish owned and with the largest cinema chain in Ireland ‘with over 150 screens in 22 locations in both the Republic and North of Ireland’.
Boasting the latest in projection and digital sound technology, Omniplex Cinemas have become the standard bearer for multiplex facilities. Stadium seating in all screens with superbly comfortable seats and more than ample leg room provide patrons with a first class environment to watch the latest blockbuster movies.