Wellington's St James Theatre earthquake strengthening project is facing weather tightness problems, lower than expected cashflow, and a construction completion date that's "continuing to slip".
But Wellington City Council (WCC) is making assurances the project will be ready to hand over by the end of the year.
The theatre is rated at somewhere between 15 and 20 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS) and is being brought up to 67 per cent.
Anything less than 34 per cent NBS is considered earthquake-prone.
The building is the only significant project in WCC's latest quarterly report that has been given a red mark, meaning it has major risks which require intervention.
"The construction completion date is continuing to slip. Issues being managed include largely due to seismic gaps, water leaks, resource availability, agreeing pricing, and design detail," the report said.
WCC's property manager Peter Brennan told the Herald the project has experienced issues with the procurement of various materials from overseas due to Covid-19-related shipping delays.
On top of that there have been weathertightness issues and broken pipe repairs, he said.
The report also said main contractor cashflow was much lower than expected at this stage of the project to complete the programme of works on time.
However, Brennan said this reference was actually in respect to project cashflow rather than anything to do with an individual contractor.
"The project cashflow was underspent against projections due to construction delays, including Covid, however this is no longer an issue."
The "seismic gap" related to remedial works to a prior upgrade of the theatre.
Despite all this, Brennan said they were still expecting to complete construction work on the site in December to hand the building over in early January 2022.
Just $17 million was originally allocated for the project, which then doubled in a budget blowout to about $33m.
Now the current budget is almost $37m.
St James is an Edwardian purpose-built theatre built in 1912.
It is a Category 1 Heritage status building and home to a number of tenants including the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Venues Wellington and Mojo cafe.
WCC bought it in 1993 and it was later closed for strengthening work before reopening again in 1998.
Arts, Culture, and Events portfolio leader councillor Nicola Young attended the 1998 opening and still has a keyring commemorating the event.
"The trouble is that in the past we've done partial renovations on both the Town Hall and the St James... both buildings had to be done again.
"When you do something, you're best to do it once and do it properly."
The theatre is an important venue for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, which is scheduled to take place next February.
The building alone represents about 30 per cent of the festival's usual ticketed programming.
Young suspected the theatre would be operational in time for the festival but some of the associated facilities might not be quite finished.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet is currently being housed in the Michael Fowler Centre carpark.
Once it moves back to the theatre, the council can decide on the future of that prime piece of real estate.