YORK'S Reel Cinema is to undergo a major refurbishment after Everyman took over the lease on the art deco building.

The former Odeon cinema in Blossom Street is set to close for three months in September for the upgrade, which will leave it with five screens but with sofa seating, a bar and a Speilburger restaurant.

Reel bought and revamped the cinema in 2009 after it had lain empty and boarded up for three years, following Odeon's decision to shut it in 2006.

A Save The Odeon campaign by The Press, which called for the old cinema to be both kept open and refurbished, was backed by 13,000 readers.

Reel boss Kailash Suri revealed that the enthusiasm displayed for the cinema through the campaign played a part in his decision to buy the cinema and save it from dereliction.

Mr Suri said today of the decision to sell the York venue: “This is a unique opportunity for us to realise some value in our existing estate to be able to invest across other sites.

"York is an important city for cinema and the investment Everyman will bring to this building will be terrific for local customers whilst we will be able to accelerate refurbishments in the likes of Burnley and Chippenham.”

Crispin Lilly, CEO of Everyman, said: “Our experience in renovating similar buildings in Barnet, Bristol and Muswell Hill over the last couple of years puts us in a strong position to deliver something exceptional in York.

"It’s a large and delicate process and will involve working closely with the city’s planning authorities to unlock the potential for this beautiful building.”