BOSSES at Crompton Place are in negotiations with Reel Cinema as part of plans for a multi-screen development.
Manager Malcolm Angus revealed the national chain, Reel, which has complexes in 15 other towns and cities across England and Wales, as its prospective operating partner yesterday.
The identity of the company was announced as plans submitted to Bolton Council for a new 1,300-seat cinema and a complex of restaurants await approval.
The new 11-screen facility will fill the first floor of Crompton Place, bringing a large, currently unoccupied unit back to life, and creating more than 200 new jobs.
Nine smaller units on the ground floor are also earmarked for the development and would be combined to create four more family-friendly restaurants as part of a new leisure hub.
The plans, which also include the capability to screen 3D movies, have been submitted by Crompton Place owners Santander. Mr Angus said the plans were expected to be considered “within the next three weeks”.
He said: “One other operator has also expressed interest but, for reasons of commercial confidentiality, we are unable at this stage to confirm their identity.
“Our discussions with Reel have been extremely positive and we are now moving into a detailed stage and fine tuning the proposals to create a first-class leisure development at Crompton Place.
"Reel particularly favour the central location, car parking availability, scheme layout and close proximity to the proposed restaurant units which will guarantee the success and vitality of this location.
“Their view is that Crompton Place in the heart of Bolton’s retail area is the better location for this development which would create new and much-needed jobs in the town.”
If the plans are approved, the cinema would be their biggest in the UK, with their nine-screen complex at Burnley in second place.
The Crompton Place application comes hard on the heels of the approval of a new cinema at the Market Place, where The Light Cinema has been unveiled as the chosen operator by owners Moorgarth.
Similarly, Moorgarth are investing up to £15 million, building a nine-screen facility with 1,200 seats as well as a string of restaurants in the vaulted basement of the historic former Market Hall.