MILLIONAIRE nightclub mogul Stefan King has snapped up the former Odeon Cinema in Clerk Street in a move which will see the A-listed art deco landmark resurrected as a film theatre and restaurant.
Mr King’s G1 group has bought the building in what is understood to be a multi-million pound deal, with work to clear rubbish and debris from the interior already under way.
The Evening News has been told plans are in place to open a venue similar to the Grosvenor Cinema in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane, with equal emphasis placed on film and food.
G1 owns a string of dining, entertainment and cinema attractions across Edinburgh and Scotland, including the West End’s Ghillie Dhu, The Corinthian Club in Glasgow and Perth Playhouse.
The Odeon closed in 2003 and has been dogged by controversy ever since.
Fresh plans for the building – which was previously owned by Duddingston Leisure – come after the failure of a short- lived entertainment venue run by Susan Boyle’s brother, Gerry.
A spokeswoman for G1 said: “G1 Group are delighted to announce that they have formally concluded on the purchase of the former Odeon Cinema in Clerk Street from Duddingston Leisure.
“G1 Group are no strangers to the big screen, and currently operate the Grosvenor Cinema in the West End of Glasgow and the seven-screen IMAX Playhouse Cinema in Perth.
“Our file on the Odeon dates back to 2007 when we first showed interest in this iconic cinema site.
“We have been very aware over that period that the building remains very close to the heart of the community, however, we are confident [in] the proposal to breathe life back in to the former Odeon and ensuring this fantastic listed building has a favourable future.”
Local campaigners and political figures have welcomed confirmation that development proposals are moving forward.
Tom Pate, of the Save the Odeon campaign, said: “The sale of Edinburgh’s art-deco Odeon cinema to G1 of Glasgow, after 12 years of closure, is unalloyed good news.
“G1 have a positive track record restoring historic buildings, and have the resources to restore this one. They should be good stewards of this important ‘A’ listed building.”
Councillor Jim Orr, independent member for Southside and Newington, added: “I’m very pleased by the reports that work is at last under way to bring the Odeon back into use as some sort of cinema and entertainment venue.”
The building first opened its doors in 1930, when it was known as the New Victoria, and became the Odeon in 1964. It began to lead a double life as a popular music venue, with Deep Purple, The Kinks, The Who, Thin Lizzy, and AC/DC among the big names to have performed there.
Councillor Ian Perry, Labour member for Southside-Newington, said: “It’s very welcome news that, finally, the Odeon is going to be brought back into use as an entertainment venue.”