Is the Palais worth saving?

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The City of Port Phillip is making the case for renovations to the Palais Theatre worth $40 million. It is trying to raise the money from the State government.

Economic impact assessment shows keeping the Palais open would result in:

• Total net returns of up to $140 million on a $40 million investment over 25 years
• Return on investment of up to $4.6 for every dollar invested over 25 years
• Payback period on investment of $40 million within nine years
• Job security for 200 employees

A financial assessment analysis shows keeping the Palais open offers a range of economic benefits, City of Port Phillip Acting Mayor Serge Thomann said today.

Port Phillip Council has asked the State Government – which owns the Palais – to invest $40 million to keep the much-loved venue open. The Palais currently generates an annual $3.4 million directly and $34 million in visitor spending.

Cr Thomann said an economic impact assessment commissioned by Port Phillip Council found a $40 million investment in the urgent repairs required to keep the Palais operating would result in a net return for the Victorian economy of up to $140 million over 25 years.

“The economic value of the Palais cannot be under-estimated. These works will secure the theatre as a leading live performance venue and further boost its attraction to international and local acts.”
Council has handed the report to the State Government and provided briefings on the need for repairs to be undertaken as soon as possible. “We have been working constructively with the Government and look forward to receiving a response,” Cr Thomann said.

“Saving the Palais makes good economic sense. The analysis showed a loss of at least $133 million in economic activity over the same 25 year period if the theatre is closed — and the State Government would still have the expense of keeping the heritage-listed building safe.”

Since becoming the Committee of Management in 2006, Council has been working to determine the best solution for securing the long-term future of the 87-year-old theatre, which is nearing the end of its structural life.

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