The founder of a pub company has moved to clear up confusion over the purchase of the former EMD cinema and said it could re-open to the public before Christmas.
Former owners of the grade II-listed building, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), caused confusion yesterday when they announced the sale of the building in Hoe Street, Walthamstow to Chigwell based company RMP Prop.
It was widely believed that Antic Pub Company had purchased the historic venue, also known as the former Granada cinema, after a 12-year campaign to restore it for community use.
Today Antic founder Anthony Thomas confirmed the vision for the venue remains the same.
He said: “The building has been purchased by EMD Walthamstow LLP, a limited liability partnership set up between us and our funders - its sole purpose to bring back into use the former Granada.
“RMP are helping with the process. A special purpose vehicle was set up to bring the building back into use.
“At the heart of the development will be a 1,000 seat auditorium. We are looking at adding restaurants and bars and perhaps rooms for bed and breakfast.
“We want to put in a cinema garden, too. Of course we plan on having residential units to help us pay for it all.”
Mr Thomas said plans are still in progress at present but believes he could have it open by Christmas.
“It is rather tired inside," he said.
“To be fair to the church they kept it in fine fettle but the maintenance before that does not seem to have been high.
“We have got issues with asbestos and pigeon waste which is highly toxic.”
The EMD will be opened in stages by Antic, which owns a large portfolio of pubs including The Red Lion in High Road, Leytonstone, and The Leyton Techinical in High Road, Leyton.
Mr Thomas explained: "First, the foyer is due to be opened.
"We would like to get people in as soon as we possibly can after it is safe to do so.
“Once it is fit – that could be before Christmas.”