Jersey Development Company, the Government’s property regeneration company, has successfully renegotiated the terms of the Cineworld lease, securing the future of the only cinema on the island for the next nine years. The negotiations come as Cineworld navigates Chapter 11 bankruptcy, partly due to revenue loss during government-imposed cinema closures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, Cineworld appealed against a £1 million order to pay unpaid rent and insurance costs incurred while the venue was closed during the pandemic. Revenues from the Jersey cinema have been marginal, with visits decreasing from 280,000 in 2019 to 180,000 in 2022. To retain an operating cinema on the island, the Jersey Development Company agreed to waive some of Cineworld’s rent arrears debt in exchange for a longer commitment through June 2032. However, if the average annual visits drop below 180,000 after 2027, Cineworld can exit the arrangement with a six-month notice period.
Both the Jersey Development Company and Cineworld will collaborate to keep the cinema operational until its eventual redevelopment. To avoid closure, it is crucial for islanders to increase their usage of the facility to ensure its financial viability.