One of the last remaining super-cinemas from the 1930s has moved a step closer to being transformed into an eight-storey hotel in the heart of Aberdeen.
The former Capitol Cinema in Union Street – which also played host to concerts by the Rolling Stones and other famous bands – could be brought back to life under multimillion-pound plans.
Councillors have been urged to approve a redevelopment of the site when they consider the scheme next week, with officials saying it would create a “striking and attractive” city-centre landmark.
Prime Properties, the developer, wants permission to turn the category B-listed building into a 170-bed hotel, with a bar, restaurant, conference facility and basement car park.
The Capitol Cinema was designed by renowned architects Marshal Mackenzie and opened in 1933, before being used for concerts in the 1960s. After closing in 1998, it briefly reopened as the Jumpin Jaks and Chicago Rock nightclub, but has lain vacant for two years.
The plan would involve the retention of the granite-built portion of the building facing Union Street, as well as the refurbishment of the original art deco interior part of the building, including the disused first-floor restaurant.
The red brick fly-tower and auditorium to the rear would be almost completely demolished and replaced by an eight-storey extension for a 42-space car park, as well as a bar and restaurant, and six floors of bedrooms.
In 2009, planning permission was granted to turn the adjoining Bells Lounge into a 217-bed hotel, while a major hotel and office development has been completed opposite the former cinema, on the Justice Mill Lane side.
Historic Scotland has said it welcomes plans to bring the building back into use, but objections have been received from the Cinema Theatres Association and the Architectural Heritage Society, which would like to see more of the historic features retained.
In a report to Thursday’s planning committee meeting, officials recommend approval of the plans, subject to six conditions. The report said: “While a significant portion of the original historic fabric of the cinema building would be lost, the remaining internal features of value would either be dismantled and reinstated prominently within the building, or be restored to their original glory.
“Not only would the proposal result in the restoration of the building, but the contemporary and distinctive design of the hotel would create a striking and attractive landmark building.”