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St James Theatre restoration gets a boost  

Published: 22 July 2016

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Council boost for St James Theatre restoration

The restoration of Queen Street’s St James Theatre in Auckland can continue moving forward with an approved council financial contribution.

Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance committee has agreed to provide a secured suspensory loan of up to $15 million to the theatre’s owner. This will come from funds already budgeted for restoration works.

Mayor Len Brown says he is thrilled the project will be able to move forward as the theatre is the number one heritage priority for Aucklanders.

“Aucklanders are united in wanting to preserve the historic theatre so that generations in future can continue to enjoy it.”

Steve Bielby, Principal Trustee of Auckland Notable Properties Trust, the majority shareholder of St James Holdings Limited, says he is thrilled the council has confirmed its commitment to seeing the St James restored. 

“This commitment will go a long way in helping get the St James back to its former glory and I look forward to working alongside council over the coming weeks to finalise the arrangements of stage one of the restoration works.”

Restoration to benefit all

The council sees continued public access to the theatre for the enjoyment of its historic character as a fundamental condition of its grant.

It is estimated that the restoration will cost $66.6 million all up.

A rich history

Built in 1928, the St James was originally designed for vaudeville acts. Its architect Henry Eli White also designed the St James Theatre in Wellington.

It closed in 2007 because of safety concerns. After the theatre and adjacent land was purchased in 2014, a café opened in the foyer and several performance events were held as restoration began.