Dunedin Centre and Town Hall Redevelopment
Dunedin Centre and Town Hall Redevelopment Close to Completion
Dunedin (Friday, 8 March 2013) – After a lengthy and extensive redevelopment, the Dunedin Centre and Town Hall will soon be welcoming guests once more.
A civic ceremony will be held on Wednesday 24 April to mark the occasion and the first performance in the Town Hall will be the Dunedin RSA Choir on Anzac Day.
After years of consultation and discussion, about $45 million has been spent upgrading and renovating the existing Dunedin Centre/Town Hall and Municipal Chambers (work on the latter was completed in August 2011).
Key elements of the overall upgrade include linkages between all buildings to enable people to move easily within what is now an integrated convention centre. There will be lift access to all Dunedin Centre and Town Hall floors, including the Town Hall ceiling, as well as major technology upgrades, new kitchen facilities, new conference/function spaces and new toilets.
Another key feature of the redevelopment is a raft of sophisticated behind-the-scenes improvements, which mean the buildings are now meeting regulations in areas such as fire protection, health and safety, ventilation and access.
Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says there has been a high level of interest in the redevelopment and people are very keen to use the new conference and function spaces.
“This will be the finest heritage conference facility in the country. Our community can’t wait to get back in to the complex which, thanks to the extensive improvements, will be much more conducive to a range of uses.”
Fans of the historic Town Hall auditorium will be pleased to know the important features of the auditorium have been retained, but modern climate control and new seating have been installed and there has been a general refurbishment of the venue.
The Town Hall is the largest of the facilities in the complex, accommodating up to 2300 people for performances or tradeshows, or up to 550 for a formal seated dinner. This venue can host conferences, concerts, recitals, balls and large receptions.
The Glenroy Auditorium has had an extensive makeover, which includes new lighting and decoration, but the celebrated acoustics will remain the same.
The foyer of the Glenroy Auditorium on Harrop Street will have a new glass canopy and full stud height glass doors to lighten the foyer and provide views of St Paul’s Cathedral.
There will be a large new break-out foyer, adjacent to the Glenroy, in the basement of the Municipal Chambers, which was formerly the Hungry Frenchman restaurant. This will resolve the ‘crush space’ issue which was historically a concern in the old Glenroy foyer.
The redevelopment project involved significant excavations to install the new kitchen in the Town Hall area and to accommodate large air conditioning ducts. To meet current building regulations, the Dunedin Centre/Town Hall now has an emergency staircase, fire doors and heat detection, smoke extraction and sprinkler systems.
There were a few surprises along the way, including the discovery of several rose glass windows in the Harrop Street side of the Town Hall.
DCC Manager City Property, Robert Clark says he is delighted the extensive project is drawing to an end. To be known as the Dunedin Centre, the redeveloped facility will provide a fresh and renewed vigour to one of Dunedin’s many wonderful venues.
Octa Associates Limited has managed the project for the DCC. When the redevelopment is complete, the Dunedin Centre will be run by Dunedin Venues, a Council Controlled Organisation. The handover from the DCC to Dunedin Venues will occur on Friday 5 April.
Dunedin Venues Chief Executive Darren Burden is looking forward to the completion of the work.
“It will be great to have this iconic venue on our books. The extensive redevelopment to bring this historic and high-profile venue up to modern standards will help Dunedin secure a bigger slice of the lucrative conference and event market.”
Mr Burden says there are already a number of large events booked, including a visit from the Dalai Lama in June and national and international conferences such as the Ingenium Conference and the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress. There are also concert bookings by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music New Zealand and the Southern Sinfonia, as well as bookings for several school formals, graduations, weddings and private functions.