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Steelwork being installed at Preston’s £45m+ Animate leisure complex

Steelwork is being installed at Preston’s Animate leisure complex, the latest milestone in the £45 million+ scheme, one of six major projects planned under Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme.

Preston was awarded £20.9m from the Government’s national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021, and the Harris Quarter is a unique part of the city centre undergoing a £200m investment programme to transform its historic buildings, sites and public realm into a diverse culture, leisure and employment offering.

An estimated 1,150 tonnes of steel are being used for the new steel frame of Animate, the flagship development of the Harris Quarter. The frame is being erected in multiple phases, with each section built sequentially rather than being constructed floor by floor because of the city centre location of the scheme.

The steelwork follows the recent completion of piling work and construction of Animate – on the site of the former indoor market and car park – is expected to complete in late 2024.

Almost fully pre-let, Animate will provide an eight-screen cinema, 16-lane bowling alley with gaming zone, five family restaurant units, a street food hub, public realm, a competitive socialising unit and 164-space undercroft car park, with national leisure brands including Hollywood Bowl, ARC Cinemas, Zizzi, Cosmo, Las Iguanas and Loungers already signed up as tenants.

Chair of Preston’s Towns Fund Strategic Board, John Chesworth, said:   

“The ongoing erection of the steel frame is the latest landmark in the delivery of Animate and another key moment for the ongoing renaissance of Preston. The Animate complex has already attracted well-respected national leisure brands, that will create an impressive offering of activities to increase footfall to the city, bringing additional economic benefits.

“We continue to make progress with our collective vision for Preston, and momentum is building.”

Councillor Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, added:  

“Animate is the flagship project of the Harris Quarter regeneration programme, part of the wider £200m City Investment Programme, heralding a new era for Preston and its residents. Animate will act as the catalyst for the wider city’s social, economic and physical regeneration, creating lasting and meaningful benefits for all.”

Nick Hague, director at Maple Grove Developments, development partner of Preston City Council, concluded:   

“Animate will be an exemplar of what can be achieved when the public and private sector work together. A huge amount of collaboration between all of the key players has allowed us to reach this latest stage of the delivery of Animate and we’re excited to see the installation of steelwork as we continue to deliver this outstanding scheme for the people of Preston.”