Plans for cinema and art centre expansion in Leicester given the green light

Plans from Leicester Arts Centre for a two-storey extension to Phoenix Digital Media Centre at 4 Midlands Street, Phoenix Square have been approved by Leicester City Council.

The £7 million development, initially announced in December 2017, will see elements of the existing venue’s interior reconfigured and a two storey 1,200 square metre extension added to its eastern side.

Clad with a modern façade, the extension will feature a first floor ‘green’ roof terrace and event space, with lift and stair access, providing a stunning outdoor space for dining, and cinema and art events.

On the ground floor, two new 70-seater cinema screens will complement Phoenix’s existing 220 and 120-seater auditoria, enabling a wider range of films to be screened more often.

A new digital art gallery – double the size of the current space – will be prominently positioned in the new extension enabling Phoenix to offer a richer and more ambitious art programme.

The current Café Bar will be extended to provide almost double the existing seating capacity, with new dining areas and a choice of seating. The kitchen area will also be greatly expanded to cater for increased capacity.

Elsewhere in the building existing spaces will be remodelled and refurbished, providing more space for education, film-making and creative learning.

The new extension and refurbishments are designed to provide a modern environment. Large glass windows will be integrated into the south side of the building to maximise visibility and provide a visual connection between inside and out.

The new Phoenix 2020 plans have been created by architects Arcadis, working with Phoenix, and with input from consultations with a wide range of people and organisations – including stakeholders and funders, customers, staff, local residents and businesses, programme partners and disability groups.

Leicester City Council announced in October 2018 that it will commit £1 million in funding towards Phoenix 2020. The council also announced that it will grant a long-term lease to Phoenix for part of the adjacent car park to enable the extension to go ahead. In July 2017, Phoenix was offered £4 million by Arts Council England. In addition Leicester and Leicestershie Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) provided £100,000 to support the development work needed for the second stage application, in order to secure economic benefit for the region. Arts Council also awarded Phoenix £177,000 funding to support development of the application. British Film Institute (BFI) have contributed funds to support this work, and the development is supported by De Montfort University, a key partner and founding funder of the organisation.