IT HAS been a cinema, bingo hall, a nightclub and now the Majestic in Leeds is being transformed into a contemporary state-of-the-art office building, right in the heart of the city centre.
To celebrate the re-birth of this iconic building, Rushbond, the developer behind the stunning redevelopment of the City Square landmark, has launched a nostalgic campaign called Majestic Memories to showcase the building’s history as it enters a new era.
The redevelopment proposals re-create the Majestic in its full glory as a focal point for the City and as a beacon for the ambitious growth plans of the City Centre for modern business.
Throughout the summer local people are being encouraged to join in the campaign and share their great memories and photographs of this historic building on Twitter and LinkedIn @MajesticLeeds.
Mark Finch, Real Estate Director at Rushbond, said: “We are calling on people to share the happy memories they have of the Majestic over the years.
“The building is an integral part of the cultural and social history of the City and will no doubt have featured in many people’s lives. Perhaps you met your partner in the dance hall or attended the last ever showing of The Good the Bad and the Ugly! The Sound of Music was the longest movie run ever in the City. If you were there we’d love to hear from you.”
People are already talking about their memories of the Majestic as it is transformed into a 66,000 sq ft grade A office building. A member of the public has even handed in postcard they were sent in 1936 that features the Majestic on the front.
The leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake said: “The Majestic is a truly iconic landmark in Leeds, which given its many different guises over the years from cinema and dancehall to nightclub, will undoubtedly hold very special memories for people of many different ages. It would be lovely therefore to hear some of the stories and memories that people have of the Majestic.
“One of my fondest memories is having the chance like many other people to see the Sound of Music in the Majestic, which was an amazing experience. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Majestic will look when Rushbond complete their redevelopment.”
Steve Baker, Project Manager for Majestic contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, has fond childhood memories of the Majestic as a cinema and also remembers the Sound of Music running continuously for many years.
He said: “When I was a paper boy in those days I recall reading a headline when the Majestic officially closed as a cinema that a lady had been to every single performance including matinee performances ever since they started showing the film, so she must have been an avid fan!”
The Majestic was built in the early 1920s on the site of a recruiting office used during the First World War. Describing the plans for the building, the Yorkshire Post at the time reported: “the decorations and appointments will be of a most sumptuous character”.
The Majestic Cinema opened its doors on 5th June 1922. Capturing people’s love of the motion picture during the heyday of the cinema, the Majestic had a seating capacity of 2,500.
Hundreds of people would gather for screenings, which were accompanied by the Majestic Symphony Orchestra and Harry Davidson playing the Grand Organ.
The premises included a 500-seater restaurant and a dance hall where afternoon tea dances and evening dance classes were held.
Under the new proposals, the spacious lower ground floor provides an unrivalled opportunity to create a new ‘stage’ for the future – a flexible space that can provide new co-working spaces, conferencing or meeting places.
The cinema closed in 1969, with the last film shown being Clint Eastwood in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”. It was then used as a bingo hall and opened as the Majestyk nightclub in 1996, closing in 2006.
Mark added: “Work on iconic building is now well underway which will pay homage to its past while looking forward to its future.
“The Majestic will provide a contemporary working environment to support the ongoing economic growth and success of the City, providing a distinctive place that continues to connect people together, now as a place to work and collaborate.”
The Majestic provides an opportunity for multiple occupation or for a single tenant looking to move to new city centre premises. Construction work on The Majestic is due to complete in summer 2019. JLL are the leasing agent.
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