St Albans cinema campaign closing on target

PUBLISHED: 11:54 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

CINEMA entrepreneur James Hannaway is only around £200,000 short of the money needed to purchase the old Odeon building in St Albans. Yesterday the Alpha fund, so called after the former name of the cinema, stood at £750,000 – three quarters of the £1 mil

CINEMA entrepreneur James Hannaway is only around £200,000 short of the money needed to purchase the old Odeon building in St Albans.

Yesterday the Alpha fund, so called after the former name of the cinema, stood at £750,000 - three quarters of the £1 million purchase price.

In addition, a number of cheques that have just arrived are expected to boost the total to around £800,000.

Mr Hannaway, who previously restored The Rex in Berkhamsted, is still very optimistic about securing the art deco building in London Road despite overrunning the deadline for exchange of contracts on the building.

He said: "At over £800,000 in a mere five weeks I believe we will do it. Though the deadlines have been relaxed, time is still tight. We are also well on target to getting the rest of the money from some big hitters who are just ironing out a few financial wrinkles."

Some unusual ways of raising money for the cinema scheme have emerged in the past week.

A Facebook group set up to support the scheme is hoping to raise a further £2,000 by getting its members to club together and sponsor a couple of seats.

An appeal has gone out to its members saying: "We have over 1,320 friends so even if we get a third of our friends sending £5 each we can get two chairs with our group name embroidered which would be brilliant. A lasting testament to the powers of online social networking!"

Mr Hannaway said: "I didn't even know the Facebook site existed but well done to them and a big thank you."

And the family of a St Albans man who died recently - Christopher Adkins - have asked for donations to the cinema fund instead of flowers at his funeral to be held on Wednesday.

The cinema is owned by Wattsdown Developments Ltd which has planning permission to demolish the cinema and build 14 luxury flats there with underground parking.

If Mr Hannaway's purchase is successful, he will then need to raise a further £2 million to refurbish the building over the next two years.

Anyone wishing to help should contact therexBerkhamsted@hotmail.co.uk or Mr Hannaway's office on 01442 877999.

Cheques should be made payable to The Alpha St Albans Ltd, giving name, address, tel no and email, making clear the chosen category to The Alpha St Albans, The Rex Cinema, High Street, Berkhamsted HP4 2FG.


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