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Christchurch City Council agrees Town Hall restoration

Christchurch City Council agrees Town Hall restoration
September 1, 2013

Christchurch City Council has unanimously agreed that the city's Town Hall venue should be fully restored, with construction expected to begin in 2014.

The Council has also confirmed that the Council-led Performing Arts Precinct in the rebuilt city will include the fully restored Town Hall, a new Court Theatre and homes for the Music Centre of Christchurch and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO).

The Council will now engage with Town Hall users to gain greater understanding of their requirements for each of the performance spaces and begin detailed design work. The tender for the construction work is expected to go out early next year.

Consultation with the Music Centre, CSO and the Court Theatre and other community groups to understand their needs for the Performing Arts Precinct will also continue.

Mayor Bob Parker applauded councillors for making the right decision for the city, stating "this is an historic day for our city the day we decided this icon should be saved, restored, improved and rise again to be enjoyed by many generations to come.

"The Town Hall will be a jewel in the crown of a vibrant Performing Arts Precinct and we look forward to working with the arts community, and other users, to look at how its performance spaces can best meet their needs.

"We have been working closely with key users about their requirements for the Performing Arts Precinct for some time and it's wonderful that this can now continue in earnest."

Councillors were presented with four options to fully or partially retain the Town Hall and approved the first option. Councillors today agreed to retain the auditorium, entrance foyer, James Hay Theatre and the Limes Room. The Boaters and the Cambridge Room will be rebuilt. New lighting, audio-visual and sound systems will be installed, the size of the entrance foyer increased, and the acoustics upgraded in the James Hay Theatre. The outside of the building will remain largely unchanged, apart from some angle bracing, which will be installed around Boaters Restaurant.

The Council has budgeted a total of $158 million for the Performing Arts Precinct, including the restoration of the Town Hall. The restoration of the Town Hall is expected to cost $127.5 million, with the remainder allocated to new facilities for the Court Theatre, Music Centre and CSO. The Council today also agreed to separate the budgets for the Town Hall restoration and the other Performing Arts facilities, ring-fencing $30 million for the Music Centre, Court Theatre and CSO buildings.

In November 2012 the Council voted unanimously to repair the existing facility to 100% of New Building Standard (NBS).

As part of the cost-sharing agreement with the Crown, it was agreed the Council would oversee the development of a new performing arts precinct, including the Town Hall, adjacent to the Theatre Royal.

For more information go to www.ccc.govt.nz/townhallperformingarts

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