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Wellington town hall do-up endorsed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017

A new $85 million plan to restore historic Wellington Town Hall by 2021 is one step closer to approval, with the endorsement of city councillors.

Its rebirth was unanimously endorsed by Wellington City councillors in a meeting on Thursday, and final votes will be cast on Wednesday next week.

Work will start in August 2018 and is hoped to be finished in 2021.

Earthquake-proofing and a restoration of the historic building will cost $84.9 million, the amount blowing out from previous estimates of $58.5m, the council has announced.

Mayor Justin Lester said the building would be restored to its former glory.

The rise in costs were due to strengthening the town hall against earthquakes which would be "significant work", he said.

"We know what we need to do to make this building safe. We want to do this once and do it properly."

The inside of the building isn't too visibly damaged, but the aim is to get the hall 100 per cent up to earthquake code. Currently it's sitting at 33 per cent or less meaning it's quake prone.

The restoration will also include an expanded scope of work that would add toilets, greater storage to the basement level and an extra goods lift - all of which will take until 2021 to complete.

The restoration will see a collaboration between the council and Victoria University and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, which will be the basis of a Civic Music Hub.

The venue has hosted world-class art, music and cultural performances by the likes of Dame Malvina Major, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as well as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's inaugural performance 70 years ago.

Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle said due to the hall's historic value and the large cost of the works, council would look to consult widely with community members about its plans.

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