Deal is done for the land in the £300m new Blackpool visitor attraction

The deal to hand the central car park site over to developers behind the ambitious £300m Blackpool Central attraction has been done.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 11:58 am

The council has agreed to lease the land for 250 years to Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment who are behind the hi-tech Chariot of the Gods themed flying theatre attraction.

The nine year scheme is set to transform the former Central Station site close to the Promenade in a series of four phases which will create around 1,000 jobs and aims to attract 600,000 new visitors to the resort.

The deal means initial development works on the 17 acre plot can get under way.

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A Map showing the Blackpool Central site
A Map showing the Blackpool Central site

But plans for the first development on the site, a multi-storey car park to replace the parking currently occupying most of the site, is not likely to begin this year.

A hybrid outline and part detailed planning application for the car park is set to be submitted late 2020.

The man behind the project is Austrian pop music mogul Norbert Reichart of Media Invest Entertainment.

He believes that the hi-tech flying theatre based on author Erich Von Daniken’s best selling 1968 book Chariots of the Gods which sold 70 million copies will be the perfect anchor for the rest of the attractions on the site including a virtual reality attraction, exhibition space, a gaming zone, an artisan food hall and a 150 bedroom hotel.

Norbert Reichart

The council has been working for many years to find a suitable big attraction for what most people regard as the prime tourism site in the resort and have held talks with the two companies over several years.

Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council said, “We are delighted to have finalised the details of the contract and are confident and happy to have secured the best possible deal for the site and that the final agreed terms meet our desires and ambitions for the comprehensive redevelopment of Blackpool Central.

"The agreement offers Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment the flexibility around the phasing programme to ensure the effective viability and deliverability of the project, whilst securing the council’s ability to retain the revenue income from the site for the long term future.

“We are looking forward to continuing work with the developers on this game-changing, high profile regeneration project that will bring in over £300m investment, create over 1,000 new jobs and attract more than 600,000 new visitors to Blackpool every year.”

How the flying theatre attraction could look

Nikal’s Co-founder Alan Murphy said, “Blackpool has a long history of debuting state-of-the-art family entertainment. We are excited to be delivering the UK’s first Chariots of the Gods themed attraction to the north west of England along with all other phases.

“We look forward to working with Blackpool Council to deliver this landmark development for the town.”

The first “Enabling Stage” of the project will see the development of a 1,300 space multi-storey car park to replace the surface car park that exists on site and associated public realm works. Nikal said it will shortly be instructing agents to progress the car park lease and work will commence shortly on the hybrid planning application for all areas of the site which will set out the vision for the site.

The Council will continue to operate and take the revenue of the majority of the existing car parking spaces on Central, Chapel Street and Bonny Street throughout the Enabling phase of development.

Hi-tech imagery will supplement the flying theatre technology to take visitors on a adventure from earth to space and back

This will ensure limited impact on car parking spaces in and around the town centre for visitor parking. Once the new multi-storey car park opens the existing surface level car parks will close, making way for construction of Phase One and Phase Two of the development.

The site, which also includes the town’s magistrate’s court and the former police station whose relocation and future demolition are yet to be decided, will be transformed in several phases over the course of approximately nine years.

These include: Phase One: The first major phase of the project will incorporate several key components including the UK’s first flying theatre, Virtual Reality Experience, Greatest Mysteries

Multimedia Exhibition Space, Adventure Land, Thrill & Gaming Zone, Alien Diner, an artisan food hall, and event square and a 150 bedroom hotel.

Phase Two: Plans include residential apartments, further food and drink outlets and a second

hotel comprising 250 bedrooms and landscaped public space.