A LANDMARK former cinema in Blackpool has been bought at auction by a Wyre businessman.
Richard Taylor, of Preesall-based TFS Training, confirmed his company has bought the Regent Cinema on the corner of Church Street and Regency Road.
The building, which has been derelict since The Riley’s American Pool and Snooker Club closed in 2010, had been up for sale with a guide price of £70,000.
During that period thieves had been in and stripped out some of the metal fittings causing the building to suffer water damage.
But now it looks set to become an antiques emporium if the plans come together.
Richard Taylor said the auction, organised through Metcalf’s estate agents at the Tickled Trout Hotel near Preston, was attended by interested parties including Blackpool Council.
He said: “We are delighted to have acquired a key piece of Blackpool’s history and are keen to restore it to its former glory.”
He added there was a 1,000 seater cinema upstairs which, as reported in The Gazette, may have a paranormal presence – something which TFS is keen to investigate further.
He said: “We have already been contacted by a paranormal group and will certainly be taking this forward together with researching the full history of the building.”
He confirmed that TFS would be looking at various options for the distinctive building which features white faience tiling, including opening the property as an antiques emporium selling a wide range of goods and antiques.
He said: “As more and more people are looking to personalise their own home with bespoke or home made products, TFS Training is hoping to accommodate this at great prices.”
The Regent opened in 1921 and was the first building in Blackpool to have a retractable roof and in 1969 the cinema began running bingo nights.
It converted full time to bingo in 1971 as television started to affect attendances at cinemas. It was designed by the Blackpool architect firm of Lumb and Walton.
Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture, said:”I will be interested to see what happens to the former Riley’s site and I look forward to learning more about the plans the new owner has for the building.
“I am sure council officers and councillors would be happy to work with them.”
Talks bring nightclub sale deal closer
The sale of the former Regent Cinema comes as Blackpool Council close in on the purchase of the former Syndicate nightclub.
The council agreed to pay £635,000 for the venue and plans to borrow a maximum of £1.3m for the site.
Discussions are still being held on the future of the Church Street building.
Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: “We have exchanged contracts in relation to the purchase of the former Syndicate nightclub building. Our legal team are currently working to complete a deal.”