More seats for new the­atre

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

Two hun­dred more seats have been added to the de­sign of the pro­posed Waikato Re­gional The­atre in Hamil­ton.

Up­dated con­cept de­signs for the new re­gional the­atre were re­leased this week, show­ing an in­crease in seat numbers fol­low­ing pub­lic feed­back.

The de­signs, pre­pared by in­ter­na­tional the­atre con­sul­tants Char­coal­blue on be­half of Mo­men­tum Waikato, have de­tailed floor plans, el­e­va­tions and more de­tailed con­cepts, adding to the ini­tial de­signs re­leased in 2017.

Mo­men­tum Waikato CEO Kelvyn Eglin­ton says the sub­mis­sion process for the the­atre re­vealed a lot of sup­port for the project, but also flushed out worries about the size of the the­atre au­di­to­rium.

“We were re­ally pleased with the feed­back we re­ceived from all around the Waikato re­gion and from user groups.

“We have lis­tened to that feed­back and we’ve in­creased the seat numbers in the the­atre from 1100 to 1300 on the back of this,” Mr Eglin­ton said.

Many sub­mit­ters were con­cerned about ac­ces­si­bil­ity and park­ing at the river-fac­ing the­atre, which will be built on the old Hamil­ton Ho­tel site on Vic­to­ria Street.

It will have dual ac­cess from Em­bassy Park on one side and Sap­per Moore-Jones Place on the other. Equipment ve­hi­cles will use the Sap­per Moore-Jones Place ac­cess.

“Char­coal­blue has worked with the Na­tional Sym­phony Orches­tra, taken their largest truck and mapped out turn­ing cir­cles and the pa­ram­e­ters they’ll work within when they use the new the­atre.”

Mr Eglin­ton says the NSO would have the largest trucks and equipment of any of the the­atre users, so it was im­por­tant to en­sure they could be ac­com­mo­dated with ap­pro­pri­ate traf­fic man­age­ment in place.

Park­ing and ac­ces­si­bil­ity

Mr Eglin­ton said sub­mit­ters also raised park­ing as an­other item and this is be­ing dealt with in sev­eral ways.

“We know how well it works when the rugby is on and there’s a man­aged ap­proach to get­ting peo­ple out of the sta­dium and back to their cars or into town – that’s an ap­proach we’ll be tak­ing when there’s large events on at the the­atre.

“Waikato peo­ple are well used to this, and it works well.”

Re­cent events in the heart of Hamil­ton such as the Chi­nese Lantern Fes­ti­val and the rugby Sevens warm-up party showed the city can eas­ily cope with ab­sorb­ing and dis­pers­ing peo­ple.”

“While park­ing is a city-wide is­sue, there are sev­eral hun­dred carparks avail­able within 400m which is just a few min­utes’ walk from the the­atre.

“A count of carparks shows a to­tal of 2200 parks in build­ings or streets nearby. Dis­abled ac­cess will ob­vi­ously be ac­com­mo­dated.”

Costs and fund­ing

The Waikato Re­gional The­atre project has been costed at $73 mil­lion, in­clud­ing a 20 per cent con­tin­gency.

Mr Eglin­ton says the re­quired geotech­ni­cal work has been done on the river­bank site and shows the land is ap­pro­pri­ate and safe for the the­atre build­ing foun­da­tions.

Fund­ing of $30 mil­lion for the the­atre is planned to come from lo­cal coun­cils, Trust Waikato has com­mit­ted $15 mil­lion, $16 mil­lion will be sought from cen­tral govern­ment, spon­sor­ship or Lot­ter­ies fund­ing, and the bal­ance is ex­pected to come from fam­i­lies and or­gan­i­sa­tions in the Waikato re­gion.

In 2016, Hamil­ton City Coun­cil agreed in prin­ci­ple to spend up to $30 mil­lion to­wards a the­atre, and Mo­men­tum Waikato and the Coun­cil com­mis­sioned Char­coal­blue to run the process.

“The project meets the needs of the city and re­gion and will cre­ate a vi­brant cre­ative precinct that will trans­form the city cen­tre and in­spire the lo­cal and wider com­mu­nity.

“This the­atre is a truly re­gional project that ev­ery­one can en­joy, just like the Waikato Sta­dium, Claude­lands, the Avan­tidrome and Mys­tery Creek,” Mr Eglin­ton said.

“Hamil­ton is the fourth largest city in New Zealand and the Waikato is the third largest re­gional econ­omy.

“The time has come for us to build the cre­ative and cul­tural el­e­ments that other ci­ties al­ready en­joy.”

New ho­tel

The de­sign of the new the­atre has shared pub­lic spa­ces, a pub­lic art gallery and re­tail space, and also a lifestyle ho­tel.

The ar­eas to be shared be­tween the the­atre and the pri­vately de­vel­oped lifestyle art ho­tel will al­low for cost sav­ings and pro­vide shared spa­ces for meet­ings, con­fer­ences and events.

The cost of in­cor­po­rat­ing the ho­tel, gallery and re­tail spa­ces are not in­cluded in the rec­om­men­da­tion, as these will be de­vel­oped pri­vately. Mr Eglin­ton said cal­cu­la­tions show it will not be cheaper to build any­where else.

“The shared cost­ings with the pro­posed ho­tel mean we have been able to keep costs for the the­atre lower while still de­liv­er­ing what will be an in­ter­na­tional-level the­atre.”

The ho­tel would re­store the orig­i­nal fac¸ade and some in­ter­nal el­e­ments of the old Hamil­ton Ho­tel, recog­nised as a her­itage build­ing.


The next phase is the pre­lim­i­nary de­sign which gives greater vis­i­bil­ity of and con­fi­dence in tech­ni­cal and bud­get re­quire­ments. This is due in Septem­ber, fol­lowed by de­tailed de­sign and doc­u­men­ta­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2019 and call­ing for ten­ders in March 2019. The new the­atre has a planned open­ing in June 2021.

This the­atre is a truly re­gional project that ev­ery­one can en­joy, just like the Waikato Sta­dium, Claude­lands, the Avan­tidrome and Mys­tery Creek.

Kelvyn Eglin­ton

Im­age / Jas­max

The planned theatre from Vic­to­ria Street with the ex­ist­ing Em­bassy Park and Riff Raff statue.

Im­age / Jas­max

A front on view from Vic­to­ria Street of the Waikato Re­gional Theatre which has a ho­tel on the top level with the ex­ist­ing Em­bassy Park (and Riff Raff statue) lo­cated on the left.

CEO for Mo­men­tum Waikato Kelvyn Eglin­ton.

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