One of Leven’s best-known businessmen has a proposition which he wants to share with residents and fellow business bosses in the town.
Lee Murray, pub restaurant and hotel chief, hopes to transform a defunct former cinema and snooker hall into an indoor market.
I just need to know if there is interest.Lee Murray
The idea is only at the design stage so far, but Mr Murray wants to seek the opinions of local people and also the business community, especially those who run small or micro firms. He has set up an email address for people to contact him with their views.
The focus of the plan is the former Ambassadeur snooker hall, which Mr Murray bought in May last year from businessman Mario Caira.
Mr Caira had a controversial idea to turn the North Street premises into a nightclub but the project didn’t materialise, and the building has lain virtually unused since 2008.
Mr Murray also put the premsies up for sale for a while but now believes an indoor enterprise might be a good economical way forward.
He hoped to upgrade the venue in an attractive style and call it the ‘Troxy indoor market’.
He thought it also might help revitalise commerce in Leven’s town centre, while benefiting not only customers but small operators hampered by the “prohibitive” rent and rates in the High Street, or those who may be selling online and wanted a ‘shop front’.
“This building has become a bit of an eyesore for Leven and I would really like to refurbish it and, at the same time, provide a place for small business to sell their goods from,” he said. “I am hoping to house around 12 small/micro businesses in the hall who normally wouldn’t be able to afford to have a high street location.
“My gut instinct is that it definitely has opportunity for around 10-12 businesses to make it viable,” he added.
Mr Murray is inviting comments to be emailed to him at email@example.com.
If Lee Murray’s indoor market plan comes off, he hopes to evoke past memories of life in Leven by naming it after the Troxy.
The building was, of course, the site of the famous old cinema, which was s designed by Leven-based architects Haxton and Watson. The firm created 17 cinemas in the east of Scotland from 1914-55 and the bulk of its work was purpose-built Art Deco cinemas throughout the 1930s. The Troxy, owned by the Stevenson family, appeared in 1938 but closed at the end of 1983 and was converted into the Ambassadeur Snooker Club.
Businessman Mario Caira took over the premises in 1996 and announced tentative – but ultimately fruitless – plans in 2008 to turn it into a nightclub.