The Heritage Council of NSW has given its approval to the planned restoration of Newcastle's Victoria Theatre.
Century Venues, which bought the Perkins Street building in 2015, has committed $2 million to the $11.5 million project and is pursuing state funding.
Century executive director Greg Khoury hoped City of Newcastle would approve the project soon, after the Heritage Council gave it the green light last week.
"It will make a big difference to have a shovel-ready project," he said. "We've had preliminary talks with the state government, and they are interested."
He said a soon-to-be-released business case showed the theatre would generate $50 million in direct and indirect activity in its first three years, including money spent on accommodation, food and drink in the city.
It was "good news" that Don Harwin had been restored as Arts Minister last week as he was "passionate" about the arts and committed to understanding its problems and opportunities.
The Victoria, which opened in 1876 before being rebuilt in 1890-91, is listed on the State Heritage Register as the oldest theatre building still standing in NSW.
"It represents an age of silent pictures, vaudeville and early legitimate theatre that no other building can offer in this state, being over 100 years old," the listing reads.
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