BOSSES at Crompton Place are in talks with Reel Cinemas over the planned 11-screen multiplex in the shopping centre.
The operator, which runs 15 cinemas across the UK, has confirmed it is in discussions with the shopping centre to set up a new branch in Bolton.
Crompton Place received planning permission to change the use of retail space for leisure purposes earlier this month, after councillors agreed it would help revitalise the town centre.
It comes only months after rival shopping centre Market Place also received planning permission for a nine-screen cinema plus new restaurants and bars — despite both businesses objecting to the other’s plans.
Paul Tille, the regional director of LaSalle Investment Management, which manages Crompton Place on behalf of owners Santander, said he was pleased to have planning permission for the “exciting scheme”.
He added: "The cinema and leisure development will provide a major boost for Bolton town centre and the wider economy with the creation of around 200 new jobs.
"Our research has convinced us that this is the best scheme in the most suitable location for Bolton and we already have interest from a major national cinema operator — Reel — who want to be part of this development to help regenerate the town.
“We will now drive forward with our plans, and we are looking forward to working with Bolton Council and other key stakeholders to make these plans a reality and ensure the town has the very best development possible.”
Under the plans the former TK Maxx unit, which has been empty for five years, the top floor of New Look and Games Workshop will become a new cinema.
Ten units on the ground floor, including Pound Empire, Midas Jewellers and Crystal Nails, will see out their leases before the space is made into four restaurants.
Crompton Place will have to submit another planning application for building work on the centre before they can start the development.
Naveen Suri, a spokesman for Reel Cinema, said: “We welcome the decision of the council to approve planning for this development, and we are in on-going discussions with the developer, and look forward to working with the Bolton Council in the future.”