Development and construction consultancy DBK Back is to oversee the start of work on the redevelopment of the vacant nine-screen cinema in the heart of Birmingham's China Town.

Planners have given Birmingham-based developer Gallan Properties the green light to create 80 apartments with one-to-one parking, together with 2,500 sq ft of retail and restaurant space at street level. The scheme will also include a further 78 car parking spaces to increase the capacity of the existing LCP car park.

DBK Back, which is headquartered in Birmingham, will act as project manager, quantity surveyor, party wall surveyor and planning supervisor on the £15 million scheme. The firm is currently working with Gallan to appoint a contractor.

Duncan Berry, director at DBK Back, said: "The redesign and redevelopment of the Arcadian cinema has been planned to maximise the value of the new residential units, whilst also achieve the best possible value for the additional space.

" For this reason the apartments have been sited at the top of the building on the fifth and sixth floors to take advantage of citywide views.

" Meanwhile, new retail/restaurant space, concierge reception for the apartments and a total of 150 car parking spaces will occupy the lower floors."

He added: "The redevelopment of this vacant early 1990's purpose-built leisure facility demonstrates how such buildings can be given a new lease of life.

"Since the cinema was first developed as part of the larger Arcadian entertainment complex approximately 15 years ago, residential values in central Birmingham have soared.

"With this new mixed-use project marking the introduction of apartments into the Arcadian, we are delighted to be working on it through from start to finish as both project managers and quantity surveyors."

The redevelopment of the Arcadian Cinema site, which is situated on Bromsgrove Street in central Birmingham, will involve the existing cladding for the building being removed and a modern new faAade being created. The internal cinema space will be totally stripped out to make way for the new uses.

Gallan Properties is headed by regional property entrepreneur Jackie Gallagher, with his son and daughter Marty Gallagher and Karen Wilson as co-directors.

Jackie, chairman of Gallan Properties, said: "This is our first mixed-use venture in central Birmingham, so it is very rewarding to be able to work on such a complex redevelopment project as the Arcadian Cinema site.

"Having large commercial buildings sitting empty in the heart of a city does not give out the right signals about Birmingham's ongoing renaissance, but it was crucial to ascertain the best use for the space.

"Introducing contemporary apartments into an area currently dominated by restaurants, bars and clubs will add to its sustainability going forwards."

The scheme is expected to be finished in 18 months.