The £300m regeneration of Blackpool's Central site has moved a step closer after council leaders signed an agreement with developers for the lease of the land.
The move paves the way for the first two phases of investment including the UK's first flying theatre, multi-media exhibition space and a 150-bedroom hotel as well as enabling work to build a 1,300 space car park.
Read more REVEALED: “Flying theatre” to land in Blackpool in ambitious £300m Central development
It comes after the proposals were first publicly unveiled last December by developers Nikal Ltd and media company Media Invest Entertainment.
Council leader Simon Blackburn, who announced the update at a meeting of the full council, said afterwards: “Throughout the course of this year the council has continued negotiations with Nikal in relation to the terms of the development and for bringing the proposals to fruition.
"These negotiations are now at an advanced stage and we are delighted to announce the terms have now been agreed for the release of the land required to kick start development on the site.”
In his report to full council, Coun Blackburn said discussions had fallen slightly behind the original schedule "which may cause some delay in commencement of the initial phases on site."
But he added it was important "the council secure the best deal it possibly can, whilst ensuring the scheme is both deliverable and viable."
The 17 acre development site, which is currently occupied by the Central Station car park, the magistrates court and former police station, will be transformed in several development phases over eight to nine years.
It is estimated the completed development will attract up to 600,000 additional visitors a year with a combined annual spend of £75m. It will also create around 1,000 new jobs.
Coun Blackburn added: “The proposals for the site remain very positive and the council and developer are now progressing towards agreement of the legal documents with their commercial and legal advisers, with a view to having the deal completed later this autumn, so work on the submission of a planning application can commence."
Coun Blackburn added in his report to council that work to relocate Blackpool Magistrates Court and the county courts to a new site in the town centre is continuing.
This could be done with help from the Town Deal which will see the resort receive up to £25m of government funding.
A number of studies have been undertaken by the council in recent months which will be used to persuade the HM Courts and Tribunals Service to relocate the courthouse.
The £300m Central site plan includes:
Enabling phase: A new multi-storey car park with more than 1,300 spaces replacing the existing open air car park as well as new coach drop off facilities.
Phase 1: The first major phase of the project will incorporate several key components including the UK’s first flying theatre, virtual reality experience, greatest mysteries attraction, multimedia exhibition space, adventure land, thrill and gaming zone, alien diner, an artisan food hall, and event square and a 150 bedroom hotel.
Phase 2: Plans include residential apartments, further food and drink outlets and a second hotel comprising 250 bedrooms and landscaped public space.
Photo L-R - Nick Payne Managing Director Nikal, Cllr Simon Blackburn Leader of Blackpool Council, Norbert Reichart, CEO of Media Invest Entertainment