C&R signs 25 year Cinema lease in Hemel Hempstead

Capital & Regional plc (LSE: CAL), the UK focused REIT with a portfolio of dominant in-town community shopping centres, announces that it has signed a 25 year lease without break with Empire Cinemas, the UK’s leading independent cinema chain, for a brand new, nine-screen cinema with a total of 924 seats at its centre in Hemel Hempstead. The rent has been agreed at £15 per square foot, in line with the portfolio average, with index-linked annual uplifts.  

The Company has already secured the planning permission to add an extension above the existing centre for the cinema, with construction work expected to start late in Q3 2019.  The cinema is due to open in early 2021.

The opening of the cinema is a central element of Capital & Regional’s repositioning strategy for Hemel Hempstead town centre, where the Company expects to invest over £15 million in the next two years on the Cinema and further projects, consistent with its community centre strategy. Upgraded customer facilities have already been delivered, including a new state-of-the-art family area and toilets, as well as a new roof, full height glazed shop fronts and an external refurbishment. A family zone, including a soft play area, will be opened in Q2 2019 and more dining options will be brought into the scheme.

Located just outside the M25, Hemel Hempstead is a thriving London commuter town that has a diverse, growing population and an influx of young professionals and families.  Over £350 million has been invested in recent years by the local authority, with whom the Company has a strong relationship, and Dacorum Council also plans to deliver 8,900 new homes for the town in the next 20 years. Altogether, Capital & Regional owns 350,000sq ft across three adjoining assets in the centre of Hemel Hempstead, providing a significant opportunity for it to improve and curate the town centre for the local community, in line with its portfolio strategy.

Lawrence Hutchings, Chief Executive at Capital & Regional, commented: “The Empire Cinema and the express and casual dining options we will create are an important step forward in our repositioning of Hemel, consistent with our community centre strategy.  It represents the next key stage following our investment in the family precinct, which is under construction, and an upgrade to centre finishes and amenities.

“We are therefore excited to be able to bring Empire Cinema to Hemel. Empire is committed to creating a world class experience, which reflects the customer feedback and needs identified in our research with local focus groups, where a town centre cinema and evening destination was the most requested addition by residents in the area.”

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