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Hamilton City Council looks for new uses for the Founders Theatre

Hamilton City Council looks for new uses for the Founders Theatre
December 12, 2017

Hamilton City Council has voted in favour of exploring proposals for new uses of the city’s ageing Founders Theatre.

The historic theatre was closed in February 2016 due to concerns about the safety of its flying system. A further Detailed Seismic Assessment confirmed the building as having an unacceptably low New Build Standard score.

A Council meeting today received a staff report outlining the results of two public consultation processes - one asking the wider community for comment on the future the theatre, the other seeking expressions of interest and proposals from individuals and groups with ideas for new uses for Founders Theatre.

Sean Murray, the Council’s General Manager of Venues, Tourism, and Major Events, explained “as part of our recent public consultation processes, several individuals and community groups have expressed an interest in taking over the theatre - or a slimmed down version of it - for a range of potential uses.

"The Council has directed staff to explore those proposals and report back with more in-depth information on those.

"The thrust of the proposals is to operate the Founders Theatre as community/creative hub, potentially used by several groups. One proposal does include operating the building as a theatre."

Murray says a crucial aspect of discussions with interested parties will be funding of their proposals and fiscal matters - particularly the refurbishment and alterations likely to be needed.

He added "the building needs a lot of work to be made safe and brought up to a good useable standard - and that work comes with a price tag of potentially millions of dollars.

Murray expects staff to bring a new report back to the Council, expected in March or April 2018, with additional information on the proposals and the related business models for those.

Today’s decision by the Council means the building will, in the immediate future at least, not be demolished - however, it will remain closed.

As part of its 10-Year Plan process, the Council has - in principle - committed $25 million to the proposed new Waikato Regional Theatre touted for a site on the banks of the Waikato River.

The vote to seek more information on the proposals for Founders was agreed 11 to one. 

1st November 2017 - HAMILTON EVENT PATRONS URGED TO PURCHASE TICKETS FROM OFFICIAL VENDORS

16th October 2017 - HAMILTON COMMUNITY GROUPS INVITED TO SIGNAL FOUNDERS THEATRE INTEREST

25th August 2017 - FEASIBILITY REPORT RELEASED INTO NEW WAIKATO REGIONAL THEATRE

8th December 2016 - HAMILTON’S H3 GROUP SECURES TWO TOP NATIONAL VENUE INDUSTRY AWARDS 

26th August 2016 - FUND LAUNCHED TO PROTECT NEW ZEALAND’S EARTHQUAKE THREATENED HERITAGE BUILDINGS

7th July 2016 - REPORT CONFIRMS SEISMIC ISSUES WITH HAMILTON’S FOUNDERS THEATRE

9th June 2016 - HAMILTON’S EMBASSY PARK DEVELOPMENT TO INCLUDE ROCKY HORROR-THEMED PAVILION

1st April 2016 - HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL TO LET THE COMMUNITY DECIDE THE FUTURE OF THE FOUNDERS THEATRE

1st September 2014 - HAMILTON TO RATIONALISE THEATRES FROM THREE TO ONE


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