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Last Week For Feedback On The Future For The Founders Site

Time is almost up for Hamiltonians to have their say on the future for the Founders site with feedback closing on Tuesday 3 November.

Hamilton City Council has put forward three potential options for the site, on the corner of Tristram and Norton Streets.

Council is asking the community about two options for turning the site into a park:

  • remove the theatre and create a basic park
  • remove the theatre and create a multi-purpose park.

The multi-purpose park is Council’s preferred option and the public is being asked for their ideas on what they’d like to see included, such as a performance space and features that honour the site’s history.

Council is also inviting proposals from interested parties for an alternative option that creates something new from the theatre building and area around it. This option would partly or fully retain the building. Proposals must include a business plan and a long-term funding proposal.

Founders Theatre was closed in 2016 due to safety concerns over the operation of the stage house fly system and fire and other safety hazard protection.

The building, which opened in 1962, is also earthquake-prone. Past estimates for restoration range from $12M to $20M.

Hamilton City Council has consulted extensively on the Founders site since the theatre was closed. The proposal from Momentum Waikato to lead development of a new theatre emerged from the first round of community engagement in 2016.

The Waikato Regional Theatre project is now well advanced with the new theatre expected to open in late 2022 on Victoria Street, beside Embassy Park. Council will contribute $25M to construction of the theatre, which will be owned by a community trust.

Community feedback on the future for the Founders site will be considered at the 8 December Council meeting as part of the 2021-31 Long-Term Plan process.

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