Northgate Development: Chester council “monitoring situation” with Picturehouse owner Cineworld
Chester council has said it is “monitoring the situation” at Cineworld after the cinema chain confirmed it is considering filing for bankruptcy in the US.
The company also owns the Picturehouse chain in the UK which is due to open a new, state-of-the-art six-screen cinema at the £70m Chester Northgate development in the city centre.
Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the chain could file for bankruptcy “within weeks” after struggling to rebuild attendance from pandemic lows.
Cheshire West and Chester Council entered into a legal agreement with Picturehouse in August 2016 for the new Northgate development prior to being taken over by Cineworld.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “The Council is monitoring the situation at Cineworld which owns the Picturehouse chain of cinemas in the UK.”
“Picturehouse has already begun the fit-out of their cinema at Chester Northgate, and their Managing Director and senior team recently visited Chester to see progress for themselves.”
“The Council entered into a legal agreement with Picturehouse in August 2016 for the delivery of a new 6 screen cinema.”
“During the time that the agreement has been in place, Picturehouse was acquired by the Cineworld group.”
“The Council notes recent speculation in the press regarding the Cineworld group which is headquartered in the USA, and are following the situation closely, whilst remaining in contact with Picturehouse in the UK.”
“The cinema fit-out works are continuing on site.”
In a statement today, Cineworld – which operates the Broughton Retail Park multiplex cinema – said the company remains “open for business as usual and continues to welcome guests”.
The company said: “Cineworld and Regal theaters globally are open for business as usual and continue to welcome guests and members.”
“The strategic options through which Cineworld may achieve its restructuring objectives include a possible voluntary Chapter 11 filing in the United States and associated ancillary proceedings in other jurisdictions as part of an orderly implementation process.”
The statement adds: “Cineworld would expect to maintain its operations in the ordinary course until and following any filing and ultimately to continue its business over the longer term with no significant impact upon its employees.”
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