New cinema planned for Te Aro

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 11:43 23/07/2011

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A fully digital, purpose-built boutique cinema complex playing arthouse movies is being planned for Te Aro in central Wellington.

Lighthouse Cinema co-owner Simon Werry said three ground- floor cinemas in Wigan St would provide seating for 60, 50 and 40 patrons respectively. There would also be a foyer, ticket area, and upmarket drinks and snacks on sale. "We think a boutique cinema offer will be a nice addition to the upper Cuba St area and it will have a nice fit for that market."

The boom in apartment living was another reason Wigan St, linking Taranaki and Abel Smith streets, was selected for a cinema, he said. "We see continued growth in inner-city apartment living and we think we can provide an upscale experience that will be something quite special for those people."

Mr Werry would not reveal the cost of the project but said movies could be showing by this time next year - though rolls of celluloid film would be noticeably absent.

"We are looking at something that will be fully digital. That is the way technology is heading." He said 3-D was not a focus but "something that would be in the mix".

Lighthouse already runs cinemas at Petone and Pauatahanui which concentrate on playing selected movies direct from arthouse festivals. The Wigan St three-cinema complex would have a similar focus. It would be in a new building, replacing one that has to be demolished.

The 9-metre-high building, on the 405sq m site, would have a mezzanine floor with two projector rooms, an office, and a small function space.

Spencer Holmes director Philip McConchie said it was working on the resource consent on behalf of Lighthouse. "We are beavering away on the application as we speak. We've got some issues to do on the final elevational treatment but basically we are working with council to progress the resource consent and the building consent documentation."

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- The Dominion Post

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