The contract for the construction of the East Square cinema and restaurants project in Basildon has been officially awarded to McLaren construction.
McLaren will now begin the construction of a new retail and leisure development for Basildon City Council in the city centre. The former build contractor on the project went into administration at the end of October but work to construct the scheme has started on schedule this week, thanks to McLaren’s can-do attitude and procurement knowledge. The McLaren team secured preferred bidder status at a meeting of the council’s Town Centre Revival Committee earlier this month and signed the contract this week.
Demolition contractor Squibb Group has continued to work on site to prepare it for the construction phase.
When complete, the development will provide a new 10-screen Empire Cinema, which will include the largest cinema screen in Essex. Alongside this and significant improvements to the public realm there will also be six new restaurant units with outdoor dining opportunities.
Leader of Basildon Council Gavin Callaghan said: “Not only have we found a new contractor but we’ve secured a better deal for Basildon meaning we’ll be finished earlier than previously anticipated and there will be even more opportunities for local workers. Officers have worked round the clock to make this happen and I would like to congratulate them in turning this difficult situation around.
“Basildon town centre is being rebuilt and the cinema scheme is a major part of that plan. When you take on the biggest regeneration project since Basildon was created, especially against the backdrop of national economic uncertainty, there will always be bumps in the road. The true test was always going to be how we respond and I’m pleased to say we’ve come through with flying colours.
“Throughout 2020 residents will see lots of activity around the town centre as our regeneration programme really starts to take shape. This is an exciting time for Basildon.”
Jay Newman, Managing Director, South at McLaren, said: “We are excited and proud to be associated with Basildon Council’s plans to create East Square, which promises to be a flagship project for the town. The design of the cinema in particular will bring a new dimension to the area.
“Its accessible location means people will be able to enjoy a great new leisure destination, benefitting both local communities and local businesses.
“Our can-do attitude has enabled us to mobilise quickly to get on site to build this fantastic new development.”
CEO of Empire Cinemas Justin Ribbons added: “Empire Cinemas is committed to this project and are pleased to hear of the appointment of new Contractors and are looking forward to the scheme progressing next year.”
The project is expected to be complete by spring 2021.