A new performing arts theatre planned for central Hamilton is another step closer with a $6 million funding boost announced on Monday.
The Vibrant Hamilton Trust, a Hamilton City Council controlled group, has been dissolved with all of its funds transferred to the independent trust driving the theatre project.
The new theatre to be built on a site on Victoria Street South is estimated to cost about $74m.
The chair of Momentum Waikato, Leonard Gardner, said the funding from the Vibrant Hamilton Trust represents a milestone that will help build confidence in the project.
"It will help us get through those early level costs and move the project forward."
Mr Gardner said a funding request has gone to the government's Provincial Growth Fund.
"If we can lock all the funding in by the end April we are looking at going ahead with signing a contract and construction starting in June ."
Mr Gardner said the theatre will give the city a cultural heart.
"What we are hoping is that we can create a venue that will rank alongside some of the best performing arts centres in the country."
Hamilton's Mayor Andrew King said the $6m is a significant part of the council's $25m funding for the Waikato Regional Theatre Project.
He said the theatre will be one of the largest new amenity projects in the city for a long time.
Mr King said he is feeling very positive about the new theatre.
"We want people to walk through the city to get to the theatre.
"It will be a major contributor to the ongoing transformation of the centre business district," he said.
The chair of the Vibrant Hamilton Trust, Thomas Gibbons, said the trust decided to wind-up and put all of its funds towards the new theatre because the project is seen as a game changer for the city.
"It will make a hugh difference as a place where the arts can have a home."