A stunning multi-million pound redevelopment of Peterborough’s Broadway Theatre could see it converted into more than 50 luxury apartments.
Architects have put together a series of eye-catching designs which would spell the end of live entertainment at the iconic building in Broadway, currently on the market for around £4million.
However, the landmark stepped frontage of the building, which opened as an Odeon cinema in 1937 and underwent huge and costly refurbishment at the turn of the century, will remain.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Peterborough City Council in the next few weeks . It will, if approved, create a development of 56 one, two and three bedroom apartments known as Broadway Roof Gardens with an underground car park and swimming pool.
Designs from David Turnock Architects, based at Lynch Wood, Peterborough, show the front and the rear of the building facing Park Road, intact with the insides ripped out and replaced with apartments on five levels around a communal garden.
David Turnock described the development, which could cost £5million-plus to carry out, as “upping the bar” for Peterborough in terms of design, but did not want to comment further prior to the planning application.
The building is being marketed by City and County estate agency, with senior negotiator Adam Hudson saying there were already, even at this early pre-plan stage, four interested parties and an offer on the table.
“It is unique in Peterborough, in comparisson to Hereward Tower and Touthill office redevelopments and we have a number of interested parties, from London, Cambridge and Stamford,” he said:
“The next step will be to submit a full application, although someone could take it on without planning consent and make their own application.”
The theatre has been largely unusedsince 2009 when arson damaged the auditorium.
Steve Potts,Executive Director at Bill Kenwright Limited, which put on more than 20 West End hits at the theatre during two successful winter seasons, said he thought it would be a tragedy if the theatre closed. “I think it would be tragic for Peterborough to lose its Broadway Theatre, and I’d be surprised and disappointed if change of use was readily granted.
“BKL would certainly return if there was the right opportunity. The Broadway has huge potential as proven time and again by BKL’s productions and indeed its seasons there.
“But without the Broadway either being owned by the city of Peterborough or run in partnership with a theatre operator, there is only so much one producer can do.”
Broadway owner Rinaldo Fasulo was unavailable for comment.
Theatre’s chequered history
The former Odeon cinema closed in 1991, following the arrival of the multi-screen Showcase at Boongate, and the building’s history has been somewhat chequered ever since.
Things looked up when it was bought in 1997 by Peterborough philanthropist Peter Boizot, who at the time owned the city’s Great Northern Hotel and Peterborough United Football club.
He spent a reputed £9million returning the former cinema - where he had watched films as a young boy - into the 1,200 seat Broadway Theatre, which opened in 2001.
Three years later, however, he was forced to sell it on, with current owner Rinaldo Fasulo - a long-time player in the Peterborough night time entertainment scene, snapping it up.
Big names such as Billy Connolly, Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle all played there but a disastrous fire in January 2009 meant the cancellation of shows and plunged Rinaldo’s 03 Leisure company into liquidation.
Two years later another ill-fated venture enjoyed a short tenure, which ended with the man at the helm, Paul Coxwell, already a convicted fraudster, being jailed, and ticket buyers once more out of pocket
In more recent times West End supremo Bill Kenwright staged highly successful 2013 and 2015 winter seasons at the Broadway with hit shows such as Evita, Joseph, Jesus Christ Superstar, Blood Brothers and Cabaret attracting full houses, and provided a timely boost for the city centre bars and restaurants, and city-based Peterborough Voices has staged a number of sell-out concerts.