last city centre cinema could soon be producing future stars instead of merely projecting
their images on to a screen.
Coventry University wants to buy the Odeon to convert it into a school for the
The announcement has been welcomed by traders with shops which form part of the
building along Jordan Well and Whitefriars Street.
Gary Kirton, owner of First Menswear said:
"I am absolutely delighted. There were rumours that it might become a nightclub,
but this is a much better solution."
And Bill Shineton, owner of Jokers Corner, added:
"We have been told that the shops are going to be retained and we are all very
pleased. We were fearful that if developers bought the building it might be flattened, but
the university has said it will retain the art déco façade.
"The university is spending a lot of money and it is becoming a very nice
The Rank organisation, which owns the building, is to close the cinema when it opens a
new multi-screen theatre in the multi-million leisureworld complex in Spon Street later
Discussions are under way for the university to buy the 67 year old building one
of the last pre-war landmarks with its distinctive dome and alabaster façade.
It adjoins the university and would be an ideal location for the department of
performing arts which is currently based at Bishop Ullathorne Comprehensive School in the
Finham district of Coventry.
University spokesman Cyrrhian Macrae said:
"The university has an interest in a building like this, close to other university
buildings. It would be ideal to centralise courses and bring them on to the main campus.
"Discussion are taking place with the owners, but integral to those discussions is
whether a change of use is permissible."
An application has been made to the city council and a spokesman for the planning
department said a decision on change of use would be made early next month.
The university is seeking to use it to offer degree courses in music, drama and dance.