A 1,000-seat hi-tech cinema is to open in Downpatrick in early summer, bringing movies back to the town for the first time in decades.
The facility is part of a leisure/entertainment complex being developed in the town and which will also include a number of restaurants and a children’s activity centre.
It is expected that around 40 full-time and part-time jobs will be created when all the outlets are fully functioning. The project is the culmination of several years of intensive campaigning by the elected representatives and officers of Down District Council.
Council chairman Colin McGrath recently accompanied local MP, Eddie McGrady on a tour of the site and both men expressed delight and pride at the prospect of Downpatrick becoming the home of Ireland's newest cinema.
Mr McGrath and Mr McGrady are confident that the local economy will be strengthened, given the upcoming recruitment for the cinema and related business units.
“It would also be my hope that this cinema, in its central location, will bring additional trade to Downpatrick and will be another reason for people to choose Down as a holiday destination,” Mr McGrady said.
The main building work has been completed and specialist teams are now busy laying the car park and fitting out the cinema and the other leisure facilities within the complex. The first job advertisements have already appeared in the local press attracting an immediate response.
Gavin Weir, director of BTW Shiells Property Consultants, letting agents for the scheme, said: “The opening of the cinema complex is great news for Downpatrick and for the residents of Down District, with huge social and economic benefits.”
He added: “We have signed off on two of the units and are in advanced negotiations with several restaurant and entertainment operators regarding the remaining opportunities.
“The scheme has been well received by both the national multiples and locally based entrepreneurs and we would be confident of having a wide variety of food offerings and leisure opportunities available on site.”