How will Phoenix change?
We’re looking forward to being able to offer our customers more choice – a wider range of films, a fuller arts programme as well as a bigger café. But in many ways, we expect to remain the same – a friendly independent cinema and art centre where everyone to enjoy, learn about and make great film and art.
Are the designs finalised?
No, not yet. At this point, we’ve only presented ideas for how the building could look. These ideas are subject to public consultation and us raising the funds required.
Will the film programme change?
With four screens, we’ll be able to show a wider range of films – everything from the bigger Oscar contenders to smaller independent films and seasons. We will also be able to offer more screening times for each film, making it easier to see films at times which suit you.
When do you expect the work to start?
We’re planning for construction work to start at some point in 2019 and for everything to be completed in 2020. But this is not set in stone – we’re still in the early stages of this project and there is much which could change as we move forward.
What happens next?
We have developed plans to Stage 1 in the industry-standard RIBA Plan of Works framework. With Leicester City Council’s help we’ve secured a provisional £4.17 million from Arts Council England for the development. Now, as we enter stages 2 and 3 in the RIBA process, we will begin to develop detailed design options with professionals, consult with the public and other organisations, and fundraise the remaining £2.86 million we need to match the Arts Council’s provisional offer. There’s a long way to go and much work yet to be done, but we are well on the way!
Where will you find the remaining funds?
We have a fundraising team at Phoenix which will be looking at a wide range of potential sources of funding. These include trusts and foundations, sponsorship from local businesses, and money from individual donors.
How can you afford the initial development work?
A total of £355,000 has been raised for the design, cost consultancy, project management and business planning services required to develop the project to the point where building can start. Arts Council England is providing approximately £178,000 from its overall £4.17 million provisional funding; Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership (LLEP) is contributing £100,000; and Leicester City Council and Phoenix are providing the remainder.
How can we help?
If you are in a position to help us financially – either as an individual or through a company or organisation – we’d love to talk to you. Please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be announcing more details early next year about how Phoenix customers can support us, but in the meantime our MyPhoenix membership scheme is a great way for customers to support our work, and to donate by becoming a MyPhoenix Friend. Also feel free to get involved in the public consultations to help us get things right for you – we will let you know when they start.
Can we expect much disruption?
We expect Phoenix to remain open during the construction phase, but there will be a couple of months when our Café Bar will need to close. During that time, we’ll have refreshments temporarily available from a different point in the building. We’re also planning to build a larger art gallery and expect to provide an offsite art programme whilst that work is carried out.
Will parking be affected?
In our design proposals, we aim to retain the same level of parking as we have currently. The city council are key partners, and we’ll work closely with them to keep the importance of public parking for our customers on the agenda.
What’s happening with the car park next to Phoenix?
The site next to Phoenix was bought by the city council in 2015 and turned into the current car park to provide space for Phoenix customers and others visiting the Cultural Quarter. As such, in our initial designs we’ve been able to work with the council to incorporate part of the site into our design proposal and keep the rest for parking.
Before the council purchased it, the site had been privately owned and for sale for development – a number of interesting proposals were put forward but none were taken forward.
What will be the impact on traffic in the area?
As part of the process there will be a formal impact analysis looking at environmental issues and traffic. Arts Council England set particularly high standards for the new buildings it funds, and we will be looking at ways to keep our impact to a minimum.
What happens if you don’t raise the money?
We’re confident we will, and will be working hard to do so. But if we don’t raise the full amount, we may need to scale back our plans. Whatever development we achieve, Phoenix will continue to have the same aims and ethos. Ultimately, our aim is to share great film and art and make a positive difference to the lives of as many people as possible. Having a bigger venue will help us achieve that, but without it we will still continue to focus on how we can have a greater impact in future.
If you build it, are you confident more people will come?
Since moving to Leicester’s Cultural Quarter seven years ago, Phoenix has more than doubled its audience numbers to around 200,000 visits a year. By increasing capacity, we’re confident we can increase the grow the number of visitors we get by around 25%.
What impact do you expect these changes to have on people in the apartments and businesses operating out of Phoenix Square?
We’ll work closely with others in the building and ensure they have a chance to input into our plans. Inevitably, we expect there to be some disruption doing construction work but we’ll manage this as sensitively as possible for all concerned. Ultimately, we want to ensure Phoenix continues to thrive and make the Cultural Quarter a great place to live and work.
Who owns Phoenix Square and the car park?
Leicester City Council owns the freehold of the building and adjacent car park. Phoenix has a long-term lease with the city council as part of an agreement to provide Leicester cultural services. Phoenix 2020 is a partnership between Phoenix and the council.
How will the city benefit from the project?
In addition to the expansion of Phoenix’s cultural programme, the city will benefit economically. Phoenix generates around £2.6 million visitor spending into the Leicester’s economy, which creates jobs and business for our network of local suppliers in the city and county. Phoenix also makes a unique contribution as Leicester’s creative digital media hub in place-making, bringing communities together, education and skills, and fostering the area’s creative industries.
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