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Monday Jan 07, 2013

Uncertain future for Cape Town's art cinemas

Cape Town's art movie lovers face a major disappointment with Ster-Kinekor's announcement that its Cinema Nouveau in Cavendish Square will close later this month - and the future of one of the city's famous Labia cinemas also looks uncertain.

Ster Kinekor said on Friday that the Cavendish Square Cinema Nouveau would close on January 17 - not, it says, because of trading conditions but because the mall wanted the space "for retailing".

It was claimed on Twitter that Pick n Pay was moving in, but this could not be officially confirmed.

"The closure of the theatre complex was a decision made by the mall owners, who have decided to allocate the space used by Cinema Nouveau to an alternative retailer. The Cinema Nouveau at Cavendish has enjoyed strong trade and has enjoyed double-digit audience growth over the past year," said Fiaz Mahomed, Ster-Kinekor's chief executive.

The cinema opened in 1992. The company said the the decision would not affect their commercial cinemas upstairs at Cavendish, and the Cinema Nouveau at the V&A Waterfront would stay open.

On Friday, Twitter was rife with rumours that the independent Labia Theatre also faced closure, due to bankruptcy. But owner Ludi Kraus offered the assurance yesterday that the Orange Street cinema, its flagship location, would remain open.

"We would like it to run forever," he said.

There was, however, uncertainty about the two-screen cinema at the Lifestyles on Kloof Centre.

"That centre has been sold, and there are new landlords. We don't have a lease at the moment and we don't know whether the new owners want a cinema there."

Kraus said they had been unable to contact the new owners because of the festive season break, but hoped to hear from them in "the next week or two".

He added that the closure had nothing to do with an application to liquidate the company which is currently before the Western Cape High Court.

It was reported in November that the former owners of the Lifestyles on Kloof Centre were applying to have the company liquidated because of outstanding rent owed to them.

Kraus said they were opposing the application for liquidation, and hoped to settle the matter.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)


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