Why this might not be the end for the Light House
The High Court has ordered the Light House cinema in Smithfield to be wound up. As a brief recap, the cinema was disputing its rent with its landlord, which was doubled in line with its lease agreement. The cinema argued that it couldn’t afford the increased rent, as it was based on the area developing into a vibrant quarter with higher footfall, which has not happened. Mediation failed, and now the cinema will be wound up, after the landlord brought a petition to the High Court (for more details on this click here and here).
So what now for the cinema space? First off, in order for a multiplex or any other business to move into the space, the developer would have to go back to Dublin City Council and get the planning permission changed – currently it is designated as “a cultural space” and it is difficult to imagine the council changing its mind.
Secondly, given the ghost-town nature of the area, prospective tenants are hardly queuing around the hollow blocks to move in – although planning permission is being sought for a Tesco in an adjacent unit.
Thirdly, it should be remembered that the State has sunk €1.75 million into this building and will no doubt want to see a return on its investment. To this end, the Minister for the Arts Jimmy Deenihan has already said that the property could be run as an art-house cinema by the Cultural Cinema Consortium, which is made up of members of the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board. This seems to me the most likely outcome.
The cinema in its current guise might be at an end, but I wouldn’t consider the lights to be doused just yet.