THE long-awaited cinema at the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge will be opened just in time for Christmas. Two new retailers will also open, resulting in the creation of over 100 new part-time and full-time jobs, the centre's management has confirmed.
The much-anticipated arrival of the of the state-of-the-art UCI six-screen cinema complex, which will include 3D projectors and the latest digital equipment, has had a bitter-sweet reception from Newbridge Concerned Residents (NCR). The lobby group has campaigned for years for a cinema in Newbridge.
"It is a shame that this did not happen earlier," said spokeswoman Orla O'Neill. "It would have saved everybody a lot of trouble. We're happy it is here now, so that we can turn our attention to greater things."
The entrance to the cinema will be located on the centre's upper level beside Debenhams, and will also be accessible from The Avenue, the outdoor pedestrianised shopping area adjacent to the main entrance to Whitewater.
The 100 new jobs will be created between the cinema and two new retailers who will begin trading this month, Quigley's Caf and Cailini Lingerie.
Last August the recession was cited by management at Whitewater as the reason for performing a U-turn on the location of the cinema.
Management, who had applied to have it located on a site nearby the shopping complex instead, agreed to relocate it back inside the shopping centre as per the original planning six years ago.
It originally said it would be open in the autumn.
Ballymore Properties, the developers behind the shopping centre, have spent much of the past three years attempting to find an alternative location for the cinema, citing a desire to provide a bigger and better mulitplex cinema experience to customers.
However, the move back into the shopping centre is being cited as a temporary fix until the economy picks up and funds are available to relocate to a site at the rear of the centre.
"It is a good indication of what can be done with a bit of people power," added Ms O'Neill. "If something isn't right they should stand up and say so. Cinemas have been proven to be recession proof and we are delighted it is finally happening."
The news has been welcome by the Mayor for Newbridge, Willie Hamilton.
"I'm thrilled that at long last the overdue promise of a cinema has come to fruition," he said. "I was cynical when I first heard it was to open in the autumn and I will believe it when I see it. I welcome the creation of the new jobs especially in the current economic climate. All opportunities that create employment are welcome."
Commenting on the news Lisa Fogarty, centre manager, noted that the Whitewater cinema will be UCI's first outside Dublin.
"It is a real testament to their confidence in Whitewater and Newbridge as a location," she said. "We are delighted with the new cinema, the jobs it is creating and the exciting times ahead for Whitewater. Job creation at a time like this is so important to the local community and Whitewater are delighted to be in such a strong position. 2009 has been a difficult year for the retail industry, but Whitewater is holding its
Whitewater Shopping Centres co-owner Sean Mulryan said he was delighted for Newbridge.
"For someone that lives nearby, I am delighted for Newbridge and this part of Kildare," he said.