Built in the 1930s, Novelty Cinema in Walled City used to be one of the oldest theatres in the Capital till it closed in 2000.
Nine years later, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has now decided to give the structure a new identity.
Interestingly, as the closing credits begin to roll for the Old Delhi structure, its end comes laced with irony.
The cinema hall, which dished out Bollywood masala for close to seven decades, is on its way of becoming a commercial centre to sell... spices!
The MCD will soon float a tender to select a company, which will be given the land on lease for a period of 30 years.
Situated at S.P. Mukherjee Marg, a multiplex was initially thought of as a possible replacement for Novelty.
“There are markets that sell various kinds of spices in the area where the cinema is situated,” said Amiya Chandra, additional deputy commissioner of MCD’s Remunerative Project Cell.
“The concept of a commercial centre dedicated to selling spices is new. It could well turn out to be a lucrative business.”
The land measuring 1,389 square yards — roughly the size of 10 football fields — will be available to a private company on lease and a minimum reserve price of Rs 5 crore.
The civic body will also earn Rs 15 lakh in the form of rent from the company that takes over Novelty. The company will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the property.
“We have failed to commercially utilise a number of vacant plots. We want to change that and the Novelty Cinema move is a step in the right direction,” Chandra said.
“As the model code of conduct is in place due to the general elections, we have failed to get the proposal cleared. But it will be given a green signal soon.”
The company would be able to earn revenue through advertising and from carrying out commercial activities. The cinema hall has been lying vacant for the past nine years. The civic agency was able to get the property back from the earlier lessee.