News Release to MICE industry - Monday 15 June 2015

The restoration of the Christchurch Town Hall will make it a magnet for entertainment, cultural and community events says the city’s premium venues custodian, Vbase.

TownHall News

“We are very excited about this announcement,” says Vbase General Manager, Darren Burden. “Restoring such an iconic venue is another step forward in returning something back to the city that holds a special place in many Cantabrian's hearts,” he says.

Work is expected to begin on site in July after Christchurch City Council agreed to fully restore the facility by June 2018. It includes strengthening to 100 per cent of New Building Standard, as well as significant upgrade and refurbishment of the facility.

"This includes a possible reconfiguration of the James Hay Theatre which addresses the needs of the performing arts community. The repair method that has been chosen will see the building's foundations significantly strengthened, ensuring the Town Hall can be used and enjoyed for many more years to come," Mr Burden says.

While the city’s exciting new building project is underway, the Vbase team will be kept busy operating their five other venues. "The last four years, and up until the Town Hall re-opens, Horncastle Arena has remained incredibly busy as it serves as a temporary Town Hall. This in turn has presented us with availability challenges when working to secure major entertainment acts."

A number of options for the future of the Town Hall were considered, including partial restoration or building a new facility. The recommendation to fully restore the Town Hall was based on a business case carried out by Deloitte that identified it was the most financially viable option that would also provide fit-for-purpose civic, cultural and performing arts facilities a city the size of Christchurch needs.

Research carried out by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage in 2014 shows a city the size of Christchurch should have a range of venues, including a 2500 seat auditorium. The existing Auditorium in the Town Hall meets this need and is recognised as one of the finest concert halls in the world.

Christchurch also needs a mid-size auditorium for classical music and a mid-size flat-floor contemporary music venue for 500-600 seated and 1000 people standing. These options could be accommodated within a reconfigured James Hay Theatre.

A total of $127.5 million has been set aside for the restoration. This will be partially funded by a $68.9 million insurance contribution, with ratepayers contributing the balance of $58.6 million.

"We have done a significant amount of pre-restoration work and are confident that we will be able to restore the Town Hall within this budgeted amount."

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Darren Burden
General Manager
Mob: 029 200 1579
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

News Release to MICE industry - Monday 15 June 2015