THE company that plans to re-open Newcastle's Victoria Theatre as a performance space says it will need "major additional funding" from government and private sources before the doors open.
Century Venues, which operates Sydney venues including the Enmore and Metro theatres, bought the Perkins Street venue in 2015 and has spent roughly $750,000 stabilising and restoring the neglected theatre.
Consultant Daniel Ballantyne said a full revival would cost roughly $11.5 million, which "is well beyond a justifiable commercial investment".
"With this in mind, Century is prepared to place the building into a not-for-profit trust to enable pursuit of all potential fundraising opportunities," he said.
"This will also ensure this great cultural asset is protected in perpetuity for the people of Newcastle and the Hunter."
The Victoria Theatre dates back to 1891 and is one of the nation's oldest. The Newcastle Herald has reported Century Venues' plan to revive the 1000-capacity Victoria Theatre as a live performance space.
The full plans will be detailed in a development application the company says will be lodged imminently.
Mr Ballantyne said the company remained committed to spending more to restore the building.
"However, for the theatre to become fully operational, it will require major additional funding from both government and private sources committed to realising the vision seen in our development application," Mr Ballantyne said.
"Once restored, the building will not need ongoing operational subsidy and Century has the experience necessary to operate it as a viable theatre for the people of Newcastle."
Century Venues executive director Greg Khoury said the support of the council and a group of Newcastle businesses known as the Victoria Theatre Campaign Cabinet had been vital to the concept's progress.
While he said there was a long way to go before the doors could open, Mr Khoury described the costs of restoration as "incredible value for money" compared to building a new space of similar scale.
"It is low-hanging fruit in terms of returning to use a unique and highly desirable piece of our cultural history, quickly and affordably," he said.
Scott Carver Architects were briefed with preserving the fabric of the building while delivering flexibility for patrons and performers.
"We are immensely proud of the final concept they have produced and believe it, beyond question, represents best use for this tremendous cultural asset," Mr Khoury said.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here.
IN NEWS TODAY:
- Missing thumb is a 'daily reminder' about ice and crime: court
- Bushfires rage in northern NSW
- Kayaking siblings paddle the full Hunter River for their mum
- Casual mine worker class action forges on despite $2 million bill
- 'I needed some Vitamin D': Toronto police stabbing accused in court a week before alleged incident
- Gasworks clean-up begins after 34 years | photos