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Old December 27th, 2005, 08:32 PM   #1
LeedsLad
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Merrion Centre

Read in today's YEP (27/12/05) that Bar Phono in the Merrrion Centre is to close... to make way for development at the Merrion Centre!?! Anyone heard anything? Is it anything major or just a new shop or something?
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Old December 28th, 2005, 02:23 AM   #2
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no, but i hope they clear that site, though any extensive development is unlikely as Oceana, one of the biggest (or the biggest) club in Leeds has just opened there! probably just a refurb?
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Old December 28th, 2005, 03:48 AM   #3
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The centre really does need an overhall. Hopefully over the next couple of years something can be done to improve both the inside and out of the centre which will hopefully bring it into the 21st century.
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Old December 28th, 2005, 01:00 PM   #4
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There may be a refurb of some sort on the way as there was recently a planning application to do something with the stairway at the top entrance, hopefully clear that embarasing mess (including the derelict escalators) at that entrance.
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Old December 29th, 2005, 01:23 PM   #5
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Went to the new Oceana club a week ago and they have done a nice job on this. You can see where the money has gone. Despite my previous demands for demolition, I could see that the whole centre could become acceptible if the owners get their hands in their pockets. Oceana and Edwards corner actually looks ok when approaching from the Town Hall. The whole front end is beginning to look ok. The back end and the pebble effect mid rise need sorting, but I would think that with the Plaza going up so fast the owners are starting to realise that they could really have something worth developing.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #6
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I reported a few weeks back that Town Centre Securities, the owners of the Merrion Centre, were planning a reclad. Well, they presented to the local authority's City Centre Planning Panel and guess what the favoured material is:

"Phased re-cladding of the Merrion Centre, commencing with Town Centre House
Members considered a report by the Chief Planning and Development Services Officer setting out details of a pre-application to re-clad the Merrion Centre. The Panel received a storyboard presentation from representatives of the applicants and management of Town Centre Securities.

Members were informed that the current cladding needed to be replaced for Health and Safety reasons. It was the intention to replace the cladding with materials which could be easily cleaned and incorporate energy efficiencies where possible, but particularly with the replacement of the original aluminium single-glazed windows. The works were to be phased and would minimise disruption to the centre’s tenants.

The suggested materials would consist of a mainstream cladding system in variegated clay tile in a subtle range of colours. Samples of the range of clay tile colours available were shown to the Panel. A variety of coursing heights would be used together with zinc panels, glazing and curtain walling, and it was intended that the palette of materials could be continued over the whole redevelopment.

In response to questions from Members, the applicant’s representative explained that the choice of clay tile cladding had been made as it provided physical and visual durability and was the required weight for an overcladding project, unlike brick which would be too heavy. Some concerns were raised at the blandness of the proposed colours, and it was suggested that shades from the darker end of the spectrum could be included to give a dramatic effect.

Members welcomed the proposals and noted that further discussions would take place between the applicants and officers, prior to an application being submitted. Discussions would address those existing areas of the Merrion Centre which had some design merit, phasing and detailing of the recladding

RESOLVED - To note the report, the presentation and the comments now made."


I would have thought that clay tiles was another description for terracotta, so the planners' ban on this might not be so absolute as we thought.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 08:06 PM   #7
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Well it might be like a more brown clay rather than the bright red type we've seen around. It does look like it will be mixed with other materials and it's not always bad. The Light- one of my favourite buildings- has some terracotta. Anyway it can hardly get much worse. It might look really good, if and when we see renders.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aviator
The suggested materials would consist of a mainstream cladding system in variegated clay tile in a subtle range of colours...

...together with zinc panels


I guess a re-clad of any kind is better than nothing...

...or is it?
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:48 PM   #9
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This isn't going to happen, but I'd think it would look quite good with a few floors added to it, particularly with K2 oppositeish it, I find that area has quite a city feel to it. I'm sure a reclad of it is good, in this case. If it is terracotta, it is quite a low rise builing so shouldn't be too much to complain about it. Remember it will be split up by the glass entrance, and the shop fronts...etc
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Old January 30th, 2006, 04:52 PM   #10
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I found this photo of the Odeon Merrion interior on t'internet.
I think it was taken at the heritage open day last year.


The Odeon Merrion Centre Leeds was the first cinema built in Leeds since the 1930's and had the shortest life. It cost £100,000 and was notable in that an induction loop for the hard of hearing was part of the design.

It opened August 17, 1964 and was designed by Gillinson and Barnett. The auditorium was externally a very plain brick box hidden from view in the Merrion Shopping Mall service area. It had a stadium plan with a well raked auditorium entered at 1st floor level with seats above and below entry level. The entrance was inside the Merrion Centre at 1st floor level.

The display panel is now mirrored but behind the entrance doors the cinema remains intact. It closed on October 1, 1977 with a revival of "Gone With The Wind" in 70mm. This was after the Odeon Headrow had been twinned and just before the 3rd screen was added there.

A waste of a fine modern and comfortable cinema which has not been used for anything useful since.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 06:15 PM   #11
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I don't see why they don't open it. Leeds could more than easily sustain another City Centre cinema, and it would certainly improve the Merrion Centre itself. The whole building could do with modernisation, but if it was simply to be modernised- no changes in the layout particularly, it could be quite an attraction in Leeds. The market hall in there is a total waste of space, a large unit could go there... It would make sense in every way to modernise it and reopen the cinema. It would improve the look, feel, retail experience, make financial sense- infact it is so obviously needing it I think it will probably happen in time. St. John's Centre (inside) has improved...
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Old January 31st, 2006, 02:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeds No.1
Leeds could more than easily sustain another City Centre cinema
I'm not sure whether a single-screen cinema could compete against a multiplex like Vue. Even if it had a programme of indie and international cinema, it would still be inadequate as a viewing space.

It does concern me however, that in revamping the Merrion Centre, we could be losing the last vestiges of '60s landmark architecture in Leeds. If the centre had been left in its original 'groovy' state, exemplified by the odeon lobby (with icicle chandeliers!), some subtle modernisation could have made it a unique retro shopping experience, a 'free love quarter' if you like.

As it is, it's simply a hole.


Geek trivia (no.334) Odeon planned a large art deco cinema for the Merrion Centre site in the 1930s, a bit like this one in Harrogate.

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Old January 31st, 2006, 06:20 PM   #13
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It could be renovated in a 60's style... I doubt a developer would be that adventurous but still... The cinema in Harrogate too, IMO is a bit ugly- well it's been modernised now, so it doesn't look quite like that but all the bricks make it look like a big brown ugly block- also has broken windows... ODEON is a rip off too... The Merrion Centre either needs much better lighting, or making it really dark with lit up shops and decoration (aka day or night effect). They could move the China Town arcade shops up there... when the Harewood/Eastgate Qtr. gets built...
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Old January 31st, 2006, 11:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeds No.1
The cinema in Harrogate too, IMO is a bit ugly- well it's been modernised now, so it doesn't look quite like that but all the bricks make it look like a big brown ugly block
You're joking No 1, the Harrogate Odeon is an absolute classic of art deco cinema architecture. One of Harrogate's gems.
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Old January 31st, 2006, 11:16 PM   #15
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hmmm, wasn't the council trying to encourage an independent cinema operator to develop and open a set of 'art house' cinemas on that car park site behind Walkabout and across the road from Portland Gate car park???

Surely this is a prime opportunity to cater to the student market and open a retro revival cinema. Am sure di livio would appreciate a Woody Allen double bill of Manhattan and Annie Hall. Or perhaps a Kurosawa themed day with The Seven Samuri etc. I could go on. Its a great location and students would lap it up - as would any discerning cinema goer fancying a classic on a proper big screen. Hmm, may formulate a business plan at the weekend.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 12:00 AM   #16
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I don't really like it, well its OK now its been renovated. I don't when you last went in, but it's not really art deco inside, it's all modern and new inside now, just like any other ODEON. I tend to pride Harrogate more on the old buildings than the new... Apparently it was one of the UK's first cinema's like that, it only has 5 screens anyway. I quite like the shapes on the front of it, I'd like to see a similar style with modern materials- steel on the curve, glass blade outlined with lighting or something?

As for Leeds, Idon't see why there couldn't be another cinema in Leeds. If it offered good value for money against Vue, then it could easily compete. I didn't hear about the council trying to encourage art house cinema's, but yes, a cinema would make sense to target students.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 12:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeds No.1
I don't really like it, well its OK now its been renovated. I don't when you last went in, but it's not really art deco inside, it's all modern and new inside now, just like any other ODEON.
I last went there to see Waynes World 2, er, a few years ago! Showing my age! Yeah it certainly isn't Art Deco inside, as you say it's generic Odeon. The outside is lovely though!

Love your idea for an update of the classic art deco Odeon look, has it been done already? I seem to recall seeing a picture of one similar but don't know if it's just a figment of my imagination.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 12:33 AM   #18
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Have absolutely no idea- wouldn't suprise me, but it's certainly rare. Just thought: there aren't many buildings in any city that don't have bricks visible at all. I think a really interesting but simple (like art deco suppose) steel and glass building would look great.Could have a bit of an industrial look with a modern twist. Interesting...
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Old February 1st, 2006, 02:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeds No.1
They could move the China Town arcade shops up there...
That's a good idea. Stick something like Bombay stores in there, a few restaurants like the Lucky dragon, and you could have a shopping centre catering for minoity groups yet available and accessible to all.

Quote:
Am sure di livio would appreciate a Woody Allen double bill of Manhattan and Annie Hall.
Lol.
Maybe i've been a bit unfair to old Woody. I'm actually a big fan of both those films.

I'm holding out for Leeds' version of Sheffield Showroom, a conversion of an older building which Guardian readers voted the best in the country in 2003.



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Old March 6th, 2006, 11:42 PM   #20
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Piece in the YEP tonight (cba to copy n paste it) basically saying council have recieved application for 'pukey' coloured cladding (TSC call it 'subtle interesting colours'). Councillors basically all agreed we should knock it down, then agreed this was unlikely for at least 20years, then decided they had better make sure they get the cladding decision right.
As for me? Well I think that the site has huge potential obviously taking up such a large area. It's a dump as it is now but it's somewhere for the cheap shops and a few old fashioned independents. Hardly in-keeping with Leeds trendy image though and hardly makes a great 1st impression. I fear one day it might get protected status as an example of 60's architecture and as it was such a pioneer in it's day.
My best idea for a solution would be to flog the Morrissons part to Morrissons (If they don't already own it?) They could then redevelop it by sticking the car park underground and making the store bigger and modern. That would be a quarter of the Merrion done in one swoop. Multi Story car park could get away with cladding and then a nice new 30 storey tower block to raise more cash. If the tower and Morrisons were redeveloped like that and the Multistorey clad, the rest of it would barely be noticable.
Also they need to build or landscape the area where the outdoor escalators are...
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