Palace to bring popcorn back to Double Bay

Palace Cinemas has been selected as the preferred operator of the proposed five-screen cinema complex on the former Stamford Plaza and Ritz Carlton hotel site in Cross Street at Double Bay.

The upmarket cinema complex features in revised plans from Scarborough Pacific to develop the site with a PTW-designed U-shaped building that is no higher than the existing structure.

“Palace has been looking for some time for the perfect location to expand our operations in eastern Sydney,” says managing director and founder of Palace Cinemas Antonio Zeccola.

“The local community really felt the loss when the much-loved cinemas on New South Head Road closed several years ago, and I’m sure they will be delighted with the news that Palace will bring the very best in high-end cinema experience to Double Bay.

“Our patrons will enjoy the amenity that Double Bay brings – lovely restaurants, beautiful retail and convenient parking – and, of course, the presentation of the best of international cinema for which Palace is celebrated.”

The loss of the previous Greater Union cinema on New South Head Road was blamed for contributing to Double Bay’s economic woes. The Greater Union cinema complex in Double Bay closed its door to patrons in 2004.

It had enjoyed a monopoly ever since the rival 1930s Hoyts palace, then known as The Vogue, which seated 1,388, was demolished in 1963.

Last November Woollahra Council approved a proposal for a 150-seat rooftop cinema in Double Bay. Anecdotal evidence suggests the developer did not proceed with the proposal due to the required cost of building upgrade works.

“A cinema is what many local residents told us they wanted,” says Nicki Garrett, a Scarborough Pacific director.

The development application is currently awaiting Woollahra Council approval. The proposal seeks to demolish the existing Stamford Plaza Hotel structure and construct a mixed-use development with retail, five cinemas and 78 residential apartments. The existing car park, with 154 spaces and vehicular entry, will be retained.

The five cinemas will be capable of accommodating a maximum of 600 people.

Above the ground floor level will be seven levels of residential comprising 30 three-bedroom, 28 two-bedroom, and 20 on- bedroom apartments.

The floor area of the retail and cinemas component will be 5,472 square metres. The floor area of the residential component will be 13,135 square metres. The gross floor area will be 18,607 square metres.

The original proposal incorporated a nine-storey mixed-use building.

By Jonathan Chancellor
Wednesday, 24 August 2011

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