Leicester Square’s iconic art deco Odeon West End cinema is to be demolished to make way for a ten storey development including a 360 room hotel, a 544 seat cinema and 20,000 sq ft of offices.
Westminster City Council has approved the demolition by hoteliers Edwardian Group saying the Woods Bagot designed scheme will create over 400 jobs with demolition to start later this year. The developers will pay £2.9 million to the council to invest in affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.
The developers fought off major opposition to their plans from a range of conservation and heritage groups. The Ancient Monuments Society said the plan represented an “irreversible loss of heritage assets” while English Heritage said it “strikes at the heart of the heritage significance of the conservation area”.
Others said the granite clad landmark with its 120 ft tower was of significant architectural merit. Architect Woods Bagot however said its design fits “socially and architecturally into the fabric of the West End cinematic experience.”
The cinema was built in 1930 and has become world renowned as a venue for premieres of major films. Parts of the building had not been used for some years and parts also needed restoration.
The new development will consist of ten storeys, eight of which will be above ground. Underground will be a two screen cinema, a spa with a 20 metre swimming pool and a banqueting suite. Bars and restaurants will be included in the above ground development.
Photo: Cityscape Digital