The second life of the Odeon cinema, fewer rooms and more shopping

Hard times for cinemas. The COVID-19 pandemic has shocked the world of cinemas, forced to close one DPCM after another, without yet seeing a glimmer of reopening, to the point that many of them, unfortunately, due to lack of funds will no longer be able to return to their activities.

To avoid having the same fate of dozens and dozens of cinemas scattered throughout the Italian territory, at the Odeon in Milan they decided to halve the number of cinemas, taking them from 10 to 5, to make room for a redevelopment that will lead to inside it is a luxury shopping arcade.

In fact, at the end of March, the Municipality of Milan 1 gave the final go ahead, with 20 votes in favor, 6 abstentions and only 2 against, both from the League.

The Odeon of the future

But what will the Odeon be like then? Inside the glorious Milanese cinema, located a stone’s throw from Piazza Duomo, the projections of the films will continue only in the five rooms of the basement; the floors from ground to second will be converted into a shopping center, with entrances from via Agnello and via Santa Radegonda; the third and fourth floors of the building will remain used as offices.

The idea of the owners of the structure, DeA Capital Real Estate Sgr Spa, is in fact to bring big names in luxury shopping to the center of Milan: there are no official confirmations yet, but among the various brands the rumors give as favorites groups of the caliber of LaFayette or Harrod’s, thanks also to the fact that the location of the Odeon, opposite the Rinascente, is able to attract giants and multinationals of fashion and beauty.

But not only the interior: the area surrounding the Odeon cinema will also be modernized and redeveloped. The municipal council has in fact also approved the urbanization works around via Agnello, with the reconstruction of the sidewalks in stone slabs, which would thus be enlarged by a meter and a half up to the Annex Rinascente gallery; the connection between the sidewalks and the pedestrian area of via Agnello will instead be extended by 3 meters.

All this in the event that the availability of urbanization charges is “minimal”; in the event that more money is available, the project involves a complete transformation of via Agnello, making it similar to the nearby Piazza Liberty making it entirely pedestrian with cobblestones, fully inserting it in the redevelopment that in recent years has seen the entire area around the Duomo.

Timing and predecessors

As often happens in projects like these, the timing is not yet clear. We are in the phase in which the city council has given the final approval to the project, but the start date of the works has not yet been set: it is estimated that it will arrive within a few months, and at that point everything will depend on the speed of the construction company.

What is about to happen at the Odeon is certainly not new in Milan: just a few years ago in Piazza Liberty the historic Apollo cinema closed to make way for an Apple Store, while in the Galleria del Corso, the historic Excelsior cinema was converted into a Victoria’s Secret store.

The Odeon cinema in Milan

The Odeon represents a piece of Milan’s history: inaugurated in 1929, it is about to turn 100 years old. It pioneered the advent of multiplexes in the city, when in 1986 it was the first city cinema to have multiple screens for multiple simultaneous screenings.

Among the numerous rooms of the Odeon cinema, the most representative and acclaimed is room 2, obtained from the old theater of Santa Radegonda dating back to the early 19th century, which more than once has been reserved for important events or premieres.

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