After many months of public consultation and investigation of international best practice, the theatre project’s consultants and governance panel recommended the proposed 5,395m2 site behind the old Hamilton Hotel in the South End of Victoria Street, between Sapper Moore-Jones Place and Embassy Park.
The WRT Location Study Report summarises detailed assessments of 25 sites around Hamilton, including the Founders Theatre site. Consideration was given to factors such as urban design, available space, access, transport, mana whenua, landscape design, site history and development controls. Stakeholder and community feedback showed a clear preference for enhancing the city centre and making the most of the river.
The chosen site has a rich and relevant history, cultural contexts for manu whenua and immediate connections to Victoria Street and the Waikato River, as well as excellent access to restaurants, hotels, public transport, residential areas and private parking facilities.
The new theatre’s central location and range of events and other offerings will attract a broad demographic and age range. Bringing a potential 1,300 theatre patrons into the city centre every weekend will generate new development, business and jobs.
Current perceptions the city centre is unsafe will be overcome by greater foot traffic, not only by those attending shows, but also those taking advantage of related attractions in the theatre complex at all times of the day.