€4m revamp of Rathmines cinema gets green light
MOVIES are proving big business in Dublin, despite the economic downturn.
Permission has been secured to extend significantly the Swan Omniplex's multi-screen theatre in Rathmines.
The €4m extension will triple the number of screens -- and double the workforce.
Dublin City Council gave the go-ahead to the plan, which will see four new screens added, bringing the overall capacity to more than 1,600 seats.
A three-screen complex costing €3m was opened at the site in 2009, but demand soon outstripped supply.
Approval was secured for two further auditoria before the latest application was given the green light.
The cinema opened on the top floor of the Swan Shopping Centre three years ago.
As part of the expansion, the former AIB branch on the ground floor will be converted into a restaurant, with the first floor section developed into a 222-seat auditorium.
In all, four new screens with a total of 863 seats on the first and second floors received approval.
Omniplex managing director Paul Anderson says the Rathmines cinema has become one of their most successful cinemas since it opened.
The city council gave permission for the expansion despite some local reservations.
The Rathmines Initiative, a community group, said that, while it supported the project, it had concerns over the design.
In a submission to the council, it said it was worried the height of the new buildings would have an impact on the streetscape.
Irish people are some of the most regular cinema-goers in the world, with audiences of about 17 million people a year.
In March 2011, An Bord Pleanala gave the green light for a new 11-screen cinema on top of the car park at Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, though development has yet to get under way
The Light House in Smithfield has also proved a major hit since it re-opened.
The four-screen basement complex re-opened in January under new management, having closed the previous April.
It is run by Element Pictures and screens a mixture of arthouse and main-stream features, while also hosting exhibitions.