The Piccadilly Cinema was one of the last cinemas constructed in Adelaide before the Second World War, opening with much anticipation on the 23 October 1940. The Piccadilly's owner, Dan Clifford, was a widely known promoter of the motion picture industry in South Australia, and at the time of his death in 1942, Dan owned 20 theatres across South Australia.
The building was designed by architects Jack Evans, Greg Bruer, and James Hall in conjunction with Sydney architects Guy Crick and Bruce Furse. The architects were also responsible for the design of West's Theatre on Hindley Street. The News described it as ‘a warm-toned building of ultra-modern construction has the latest in sound, lighting and ventilation equipment and its up-to-date interior arrangements include attractive powder bars for women patrons on both the ground and first floors.’
The Picadilly Theatre was, and continues to be, a significant feature of O'Connell Street because of its scale, design and prominent location. The building's chevron or v-shaped windows are typical of the Jazz Style, and the curved main staircase is a focal point of its interior. The theatre also incorporates elements of Streamline Modern design in the wrap-around forms and port-hole windows.