Demolition work has begun at the historic Odeon cinema in Newcastle city centre.
However the initial phase will involve preparatory work inside the building including the removal of asbestos which isn’t visible from outside on Pilgrim Street and will not affect traffic there
It is being overseen by commercial property agency Bilfinger GVA.
A spokesman said: “The internal work will go on for several months before demolition work begins on the outside of the building.”
The iconic cinema is being removed after its owners submitted plans to clear the site and transform the area of the city into a retail hub.
The cinema last screened a film in 2002 and has stood empty for 14 years.
The 1931-built cinema was given listed status in 2000, but this was removed by the arts minister a year later.
Once it was de-listed, the council was unable to stop anyone altering the building’s interior. It is thought to have been stripped at some time around 2003.
The whole process is expected to last around 46 weeks from start to finish.
First, asbestos will be carefully removed from the site and safety checks made.
Next scaffolding and hoardings will go up as the proper demolition begins.
Preservation groups had suggested keeping the cinema’s facade and incorporating it into the site’s future development. But, with no listed status, developers are free to do what they want with it.
The demolition plan detailed how the cinema’s classic frontage would be taken apart carefully by hand.
After the front is removed, the cinema’s rear and roof will be taken down by a “high rise demolition excavator”.
Next, a crane will be used to take down the cinema’s central sector and steel structure.
Its basement, retaining walls and drainage will be left on site.
Source: Chronicle Live