17 Dec 2018

Planned Hamilton performing arts theatre gets $6m funding boost

5:34 pm on 17 December 2018

A new performing arts theatre planned for central Hamilton is another step closer with a $6 million funding boost announced on Monday.

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The proposed concept for the new theatre and arts hub along the Waikato River. Photo: Supplied / Momentum Waikato Foundation

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 [2019]."

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."