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Look what's planned for Cork's derelict Capitol Cinema

The cinema is a well-known feature in the city centre.

CapitolCinePlex Source: Cork Past and Present via Cork City Libraries

CORK’S CAPITOL CINEMA has been the site of many dates, blockbuster viewings and back-row smooches, but it has lain derelict for 10 years.

Now a planning application has been lodged that it is hoped will transform not just the cinema but the face of the city itself. It also anticipates it will create jobs for 450 people.

The site was bought by John Cleary Developments (JCD) in January of this year.

Planning application

capitalfrombisopluceypk The view from Bishop Lucey Park

JCD are to lodge a planning application for a €50 million complex on the Capitol Cinema site on Grand Parade.

It wants to turn the 0.65 acre site into a five-storey retail, office and food innovation centre that it believes “will completely regenerate the western end of the city”.

The new design for the large site is by award-winning Cork architects Wilson Architecture. JCD says it will provide space for 450 people working in large retail outlets and Grade A Gold LEED standard offices.

JCD is enclosing a report with the application from Colliers International, which describes the development of the derelict site as “a catalyst project for Cork City Centre, a game changer”.

Capitolpatrickstreet The view from Patrick St

It also says it: “reinforces the city as the retail destination of the region, provides the Gold Standard, large floor-plate offices occupiers are demanding” and “enhances the English Market as a major asset for Cork”.

The English Market is just a few doors up from the cinema on the same stretch of Grand Parade.

The application consists of over 48,500 square feet of retail space over three floors and 37,000 sq ft of office space on the top levels of the site.

It would also see the conservation-listed Oyster Tavern being restored to its former glory.

Capitolfromdauntsq The view Daunt Square

A spokesman for JCD said:

We are delighted to be moving ahead with this exciting project in what is a superb city centre site. We have already had enquiries from major retailers and are hugely encouraged by the level of interest being shown.
We also look forward to creating the required space to deliver a sustainable and exciting innovation and artisan food centre for the region. Site work will start immediately subject to planning permission with over 300 construction jobs and we anticipate completion in time for Christmas 2016.

It expects that the development will be a “great boost” to Cork city centre, particularly given large-scale projects such as Tyco’s office development at One Albert Quay.

“We are looking forward to working with Cork City Council, the English Market and other stakeholders on the project,” said JCD.

A history of film

capitol doc The derelict cinema today. Source: PlanetPictureKorda via YouTube

According to Cork Past and Present, which is run by Cork City Libraries:

  • The Capitol Cinema opened in April 1947
  • The comedy Monsieur Beaucaire was the first film shown at the cinema.
  • It had seats for 1,300 people.
  • At one point, the restaurant in the cinema was turned into a cinema called the Mini Capitol.
  • In 1989 it was refurbished, reopening as the Capitol Cineplex.
  • It closed in 2005.
  • Casablanca was the final film showed there.

Source: PlanetPictureKorda/YouTube

Do you have any memories of the Capitol Cinema? Share them in the comments.

Read: Dublin used to have 56 different cinemas. Here are some of the lost ones.>

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