Cinema could make a return to the Savoy in Cork

Cinema could make a return to the Savoy in Cork

A boutique cinema could return to the Savoy in Cork.

Significant changes are being pushed through at the iconic location on St Patrick St by developers Clarendon Properties, including the possibility of a boutique 250-seat cinema, and a small number of residential units, in its sizeable Savoy Centre block complex in the very heart of Cork city centre.

At the peak of its glories, the 1930s-built Savoy seated 2,300 movie patrons, before closing in 1975, with a replacement mix of retail, restaurant, and entertainment venues.

Crowds gather outside the Savoy Cinema Cork for the start of the Cork Film Festival in 1956.
Crowds gather outside the Savoy Cinema Cork for the start of the Cork Film Festival in 1956.

Apart from a significant redevelopment now underway at the Savoy, to include a new, enlarged 9,000 sq ft JD Sports presence on the street in the former A-Wear unit, it is creating two other retail spaces targeted at fashion occupiers most likely — one in the Savoy itself, and another of about 1,000sq ft at ground at the adjoining Quills building.

Interior views of the Savoy Cinema Cork in 1973.
Interior views of the Savoy Cinema Cork in 1973.

It previously acquired a corner-set bar premises, the Camán/previously O’Donoghues about three years ago, by Drawbridge St behind Eason, and is looking to the potential for residential accommodation of about eight very high-end apartments on part of the block’s upper levels, says Ronan Downing, development director, Clarendon Properties.

Mr Downing instances niche residential examples that Clarendon has done in Dublin at 34-35 College Green, in the one-time and glorious Hibernian Bank/BofI building, and it has also done some residential in Cork City’s Castle St.

The company is now actively considering a 250-seat boutique cinema within the art deco-style Savoy core, he revealed.

Children queue to see 'David Copperfield' at the Savoy Cinema in 1936.
Children queue to see 'David Copperfield' at the Savoy Cinema in 1936.

Clarendon Properties co-director Paddy McKillen was recently involved in the reopening of the 1920s-era Stella cinema in Rathmines, Dublin, via associate company Press Up Entertainment, which is also investing in the new Cork city Dean Hotel (under advanced construction) the Clarendon/BAM HQ Horgans Quay development.

Given the current redevelopment work being tackled at the Savoy’s main mall and Quills, access to the Savoy’s upper levels for cinema/residential may be through Little William St, next to Dunnes, with access and fire-reg compliance issues being addressed.

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