Councillors look set to approve a £37 million investment in the redevelopment of the Odeon Cinema in George Street, Oxford.

Oxford City Council’s cabinet will decide on Wednesday, July 12 if it wants to proceed with plans to demolish the building in favour of a community hub and 145-unit apart-hotel.

Odeon’s lease runs out on the council-owned site in September 2024 and the council has been carrying out a procurement exercise to find the best use for it. Odeon did not submit a proposal.

The chosen scheme will lead to the building being demolished and redeveloped, with community space on the ground floor and the apart-hotel on the upper five floors.

The proposal also includes social value commitments through the construction and lease term, including apprenticeships for Oxford youngsters and paying all staff at least the Oxford Living Wage, including those working at the apart-hotel.

The community hub is intended to include opportunities for entertainment and artwork and there may be a café. The apart-hotel may also have a bar/café.

The council says it wants the current blank façade in George Street replaced with a new look which has windows.

Operator of the community hub and apart-hotel, to be revealed this Summer, will have a 40-year lease on the building. The new contract and lease could be signed in August or September.

If cabinet approves the scheme, the council will start work on a planning application with the aim of securing permission by Summer 2024 with the new development opening in 2027.

Cllr Ed Turner, deputy leader of council, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation redevelopment of one of Oxford city centre’s iconic buildings.

“We are extremely excited to see the building transformed to provide a new community hub in the heart of Oxford city centre. It is unfortunate that Odeon has announced the closure of their cinema in Magdalen Street, and we hope they may reconsider this decision.

“The apart-hotel will also encourage more overnight stays in Oxford city centre, providing a significant boost to hospitality businesses, particularly George Street’s theatres, restaurants and bars, and it will provide valuable income to support frontline services such as youth workers and grants to voluntary sector organisations.”

Image: Google.

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