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Ground Breaks On Preston 'Regeneration Catalyst' Scheme Animate

The £45M Animate scheme is part of a wider regeneration plan for Preston.

Eric Wright Construction has begun work on the £45M leisure project Animate, being delivered by Preston City Council in partnership with Maple Grove Developments.

Animate will feature an eight-screen Arc Cinema, a bowling alley and several restaurants with completion scheduled for winter 2024. 

The 168K SF Animate is being built on Preston’s former indoor market site, a plot that has been a key regeneration priority for the city council for several years, Place North West reported.

Maple Grove first became involved in the project in 2019 after plans put forward by Muse, and approved in 2016, stalled. The developers had initially joined forces to deliver the project but Muse is no longer involved in the scheme. 

The council granted planning approval for Animate in March 2022 and since then restaurant chains Zizzi, Las Iguanas and Cosmo have signed to occupy a total of 18K SF, taking the development to 75% pre-let. 

Animate is one part of the city council’s £200M Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, and Animate is funded and owned by Preston City Council, with a combined £6.6M of additional support coming from the Towns Fund and City Deal. 

Work to improve the surrounding public realm is being paid for by an £800K grant from Lancashire County Council.  

“As one of the key Town Deal projects, Animate will help to regenerate the Harris Quarter and support the city council’s commitment to Preston’s City Investment Plan 2035,” Preston Partnership Chair John Chesworth said.

The delivery team includes architect Leach Rhodes Walker, planning by CBRE, M&E consultant Waterman, landscape architect Planit-IE and cost adviser Gleeds.