Up to $11.9 million could be spent on earthquake strengthening and refurbishment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre - in the hope of turning around declining attendance at the venue.
A report outlining the business case for the Fenton St centre, which closed last Friday after the building fell below earthquake standards, will be presented to councillors at a Rotorua Lakes Council strategy, policy & finance committee meeting tomorrow. It seeks approval to obtain a detailed design for a performing arts centre that is "fit for purpose", "increased contribution to Rotorua's economic performance" and "improves community pride and well-being".
At least six refurbishment options were considered, including earthquake strengthening only at an estimated cost of $2.7m.
However, the council's preferred option is to do the earthquake strengthening as well as modification of the concert chamber to a flexible 100-300 seat space and an overhaul of the foyer and banquet room, including a pre and post show bar.
The total cost estimate for this is between $9.6m and $11.9m.
[Note: An earlier version of this story stated the preferred option would cost between $12.3m and $14.6m. The incorrect figures were mistakenly supplied by the council.]
The business case, prepared by Horwath HTL, states the council had identified a number of problems with the performing arts centre, including under-utilisation, a lack of flexibility and "poor physical ambiance".
"As a result of these problems, [the centre] has experienced a significant decline in events, utilisation, revenue and attendee numbers."
It stated the facility had recently lost most of its business event income and regaining that was crucial if it was to become sustainable in the future.
Its research found 92 per cent of Rotorua residents were interested in at least some aspect of performing arts and the annual spend on performing arts by the Rotorua population was $12.2m - but 59 per cent of this was spent outside of the city.
Survey results found a renovation would have very little impact on a person's intent to visit the centre in the next 12 months.
"It is clear that the biggest barrier to growing the performing arts market in Rotorua is the type and quality of shows that are on," the business case stated.
$1m had been set aside in the Annual Plan to complete the business case and potentially start detailed design and construction.
The council report recommended this detailed design work be started and that staff also start looking at options for external funding.
Other items on the meeting's agenda are proposed changes to speed limits on some roads in the Rotorua district, the inclusion of shared path and shared zone definitions in the Traffic Bylaw 2015 and the Special Housing Areas Policy.