Beginning Of The End For IMAX Building

Work to halve the height of the hated IMAX building in Bournemough has officially started.

Work's begun to significantly reduce the height of the hated Waterfront building in Bournemouth which blocks views of the sea.

The site will be transformed into a new all-weather attraction by Summer 2012.

To signify the end of the current building’s life – voted England’s most hated building by TV's Demolition programme - the IMAX signage was removed on Friday 18th March to big applause.

Councillor Peter Charon, Leader of the Council, said:

“The removal of the IMAX signage signifies a new start for the Waterfront building that we inherited.

"We’ve waited years to have the opportunity to reduce the impact of this building on the seafront and I am delighted that we can now deliver on our ambitions and our promise to residents to improve the sea views.

"Our aspiration is to deliver an exciting all-weather leisure and/or cultural attraction on this site that Bournemouth can be proud of.

“Currently the re-design of the building is very much a blank canvas and we are now looking closely at how we can further improve the look and feel of the building.

"We are considering how we can use natural plants and landscaping to soften the appearance of the site and are investigating sustainability options such as photo-voltaic panels.

"In consultation with the arts community and local residents we will also be commissioning public artwork to brighten up the back of the building and create a feature for the public to enjoy.”

The deconstruction and alteration works are due for completion by the end of the year. In the meantime, the Council is seeking leisure operators and developers to come forward with proposals for all year round leisure and/or cultural attractions which reflect what people said they wanted in the public consultation.

3500 people took part in a public consultation in March 2010, and most said they hated the building, that it was ugly, and that they’d like to see the views improved.

They said they would prefer to see one or a combination of the following uses on the site: tropical gardens, a water park, interactive arts, museum and entertainment and/or performing arts space/amphitheatre

The criteria for selecting offers for the building will be based on how well the proposal fits in with what people said they wanted, and the quality and viability of the offer.

The proposed timetable for selecting preferred uses for the building is outlined below:

May – deadline for Expressions of Interest
June – evaluate and shortlist Expressions of Interest
June/July – invite detailed proposals
August – select offer(s)
September - complete lease agreements
December – complete construction works
Spring 2012 – tenants to begin fit out works
Summer 2012 – building open for public use

The total budget set for the project is £8,528,000

The project was funded by the use of capital receipts realised from the sale of Council assets.  This money cannot be spent on the day to day running costs of the Council or for the maintenance of front-line services, but must be spent on capital projects.