Stefan King, millionaire founder of one of the country's largest independent leisure empires, has bought the former Odeon in the Southside of the Scottish capital.

Mr King's G1 Group, which owns the Corinthian Club in Glasgow, said the firm has formally concluded the purchase of the A Listed art deco building from Duddingston Leisure.

The fact G1 Group operates the Grosvenor Cinema in the West End of Glasgow and the seven screen IMAX Playhouse Cinema in Perth will bring hope the building could return as a picture house.

Mr King's (below) plans for the building remain under wraps but an assurance was made an earlier proposal to create a superpub - a move which brought clashes between developers and the community - would not be revived.

The Herald: Stefan King has bought the former Odeon in Clerk StreetStefan King has bought the former Odeon in Clerk Street

As well as the superpub plans previous proposals for the Odeon included creating an arts centre.

The striking building was designed by renowned cinema architect William Edward Trent, opened in 1930 and has been empty for more than 10 years.

The Herald: The former Odeon cinema todayThe former Odeon cinema today

At one stage the two storey building was under threat of demolition but a 5,000 signature petition helped halt the move.


Sir Sean Connery, Brian Cox, Dougray Scott and James Cosmo supported campaigns to save the cinema.

Duddingston Properties Group is currently part of the development team involved in the controversial plan to turn the old Royal High School on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

G1 Group said it had been "very aware over that period that the building remains very close to the heart of the community, however, we are confident that the proposal to breathe life back in to the former Odeon and ensuring this fantastic listed building has a favourable future".

Lyn MacDonald, marketing director at G1 Group, said: "As a Group, we are always fully committed to treating notable buildings and places of interest with due respect and care, and would like to clarify that there are no current or future plans to turn The Odeon building into a superpub.

"Instead, we are hard at work on developing a concept that will bring the space fully to life, creating jobs and regeneration in the area as we move forward to create a real ‘destination’ in Scotland’s great capital."

Sir Sean has helped campaign for the cinema - also used as a music venue during the 1970s with bands inlcuding The Kinks and The Who performing  - since 2003.

The Herald: Sir Sean Connery backed the campaign to save the OdeonSir Sean Connery backed the campaign to save the Odeon

Currently on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland, it first opened as New Victoria Cinema, and is described as "an outstanding example of an Art Deco cinema in Scotland and the United Kingdom".

BARR register keepers said: "It is Scotland's best surviving example of a cinema from this period which includes a largely extant original interior decoration scheme.

"During the 1980s the original auditorium was divided up into several smaller auditoria, and a number of other alterations have been carried out, particularly in the entrance foyer.

"However, this work has been done in a largely reversible manner and most of the original decorative scheme has been retained, although some parts are currently concealed behind false ceilings and other additions. "

Duddingston is a partner with Urbanist Hotels group in the £75m plan to convert the A-listed old Royal High School into a hotel (below).

The Herald: Duddingston has plans for the old Royal High SchoolDuddingston has plans for the old Royal High School