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New hope for deal in St Botolph's Quarter
6:00am Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
DEVELOPERS are in talks over plans for two buildings in Colchester’s St Botolph’s Quarter.
Interest in St James House and the First Bus depot has been prompted by proposals for a cinema in Queen Street.
Curzon has been chosen by Colchester Council to open an art house cinema and two restaurants in part of the old Keddies department store, called Roman House. St James House formed the other part of the complex.
Developers are now hoping to make the most of the Curzon scheme.
Colchester Council owns the former Keddies buildings, the former bus station and the First Bus depot in Queen Street.
Nick Barlow, councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “We are talking to various developers.
“The original plans were for a Travelodge hotel in part of the Keddies building, but now we’re talking about various other schemes.
“Hotels are on the mind, but there are also a lot of options across the site.”
Mr Barlow said more details on the proposals were due to be released in the New Year.
He added: “The hope is we can get some development pretty quickly, with Curzon looking to start work soon and be open by early 2015. It shows how something like Curzon can bring people to Colchester and how these things feed off each other.”
The former Keddies buildings have been empty since 2006.
Colchester Council owns the buildings and has been paying £80,000 a year in business rates in the hope of attracting a hotel.
Travelodge pulled out, forcing the council to change direction.
It bought the adjacent First Bus depot to make the site bigger and entice buyers.
Mr Barlow said making the area more appealing to the public was vital.
He said: “Changing the perception of Queen Street is certainly part of it.
“It has been slower than we would have liked, but it is starting to change.
“I hope 2014 will be a busy year for that part of town.
“We’re trying to build a quarter and the great thing is we already have the community interested in it.”
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