Empire Hemel Hempstead
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The 8-screen Odeon opened on 25th August 1995 with 1,840 seats. It was designed by the firm S & P Architects. It was part of the Jarman Park Leisure World complex which included a bowling alley, a nightclub, ice rink, water splash park and restaurants. Seating capacities in the screens ranged from 433 down to 130. The Odeon was taken over by Empire Cinemas in October 2005.
Unfortunately, the complex became very rundown (it became known, rather disparagingly, by locals as ‘Wally World’). Plans to redevelop Jarman Park were put forward in December 2011. These eventually came to fruition in 2014-2015 when, in an £8.5m deal, Capitol and Regional sold the site to Tesco Pensions Trust. Three principle locations now comprise the newly name Jarman Square. A Tesco Extra superstore, an XC extreme sports centre and a separate complex encompassing a number of restaurants, Planet Ice and a new Empire multiplex.
Empire Cinemas acquired 35,000sqft of space to the rear of the existing cinema, and 9 new screens opened on the 9th October 2015. At that point the existing former Odeon screens were closed and demolished. These were replaced on the 26th October with 5 new screens. A few days later an IMAX auditorium opened, followed by and IMPACT BLUE screen.
Seating capacities are:Screen 1(IMAX):278 seats, Screen 2(IMACT BLUE):185, Screen 4:104, Screen 5:104, Screen 6:35, Screen 7:114, Screen 8:86, Screen 9:78, Screen 10:60, Screen 11:52, Screen 12:60, Screen 13:48, Screen 14:48, Screen 15:60, Screen 16:60 and Screen 17:78. There are additional wheelchair spaces in all auditoriums.
There are now 17 screens, but the IMPACT LUX auditorium (Screen 3) to be situated adjacent to the IMPACT BLUE (Screen 2) had not opened at the time of this writing in July 2016.
In July 2016 it was one of five Empire Cinemas purchased by the Cineworld chain. The other four were the Empire Leicester Square, London, Basildon, Poole and Bromley.
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