Hope for the Palais

By  |  0 Comments

By Maddison McSwain

The future of St Kilda’s iconic Palais Theatre is one step closer to being secured.

Port Phillip Council has short-listed three high quality candidates in the selection process for the venue’s next operator.

The candidates are Playbill, Live Nation and Palais Theatre Management.

The operator will need to make a financial contribution to support State Government and Council investment in urgent repair and compliance works on the building. This would include electrical and structural undertakings.

The key to securing this operator contribution will be a long-term lease.

Councillors agreed to ask the three candidates to submit formal proposals for a long-term lease at their meeting on March 24. However, this will only occur after a funding agreement between Council and the State Government for the crucial repair works is reached.

Council pledged $7.5 million last year towards the repairs, contingent on receiving a $25 million Government contribution. Labor committed $13.4 million during their election campaign.

Mayor Amanda Stevens is hoping the Palais will be restored sooner rather than later.

“Council appreciates this significant funding commitment and is eager to continue partnering with the State Government on getting these urgent maintenance and compliance works underway,” Cr Stevens said.

“It is essential that we get on with the works as soon as possible to avoid cost escalations associated with further damage to the structure, and address urgent building compliance issues and the visual impact on the historic theatre of the scaffolding currently surrounding the Palais”.

Cr Stevens agrees the next step in securing the Palais Theatre’s future is the submission of formal proposals by Playbill, Live Nation and Palais Theatre Management.

“Seeking formal proposals is a necessary further step as it involves a more rigorous process than inviting Expressions of Interest. We need to ensure we get it right to protect the Palais and Council and achieve the best possible value for ratepayers. Considering we received a funding promise less than six months ago, we have made great progress towards preserving this State-owned asset, which is a fantastic attraction for St Kilda, and Victoria.”

Council will consider a revised urgent works program on April 14.

Although the repairs may take a few years to complete, they will ultimately secure the Palais’ long-term future, so the venue can continue to be enjoyed by the community of St Kilda and its many visitors.

There has been immense public support behind restoring the iconic theatre, with the establishment of the community group ILoveMyPalais, a campaign to help raise awareness for the cause. The group’s Facebook page currently has over 4,200 likes.

Cr Stevens said Council recognised the significant contribution made by ILoveMyPalais in advocating for the vital State Government investment to help resolve the building issues.

The Palais Theatre has been an iconic landmark for 87 years, with major historical, architectural, economic and cultural significance to Victoria. It would be a shame for such a large piece of history to be lost.

Find us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on Facebook