The balance of $100 million has been set aside for renovation of Riverside Theatres to make it a bigger drawcard for touring international and national shows. The cultural centre includes three venues, the largest of which can seat 761 people.
Create NSW foreshadowed it would seek further revisions to its agreement with Parramatta City Council.
“The NSW Government continues to work collaboratively with the City of Parramatta Council and Riverside Theatres in devising a business case for an upgrade of the theatres,” a Create NSW spokesperson said.
“A revised Heads of Agreement has been drafted and is being finalised in order to submit the business case, with the NSW Government keen to ensure that the theatres meet the future needs of a growing Parramatta.”
The delay comes amid deep misgivings within council about the possible demolition of the former maternity hospital, Willow Grove, and St George’s Terrace, a row of Victorian period terraces, to make way for the new museum.
Council said the revitalisation of arts and culture remained an important priority and it was working with government to explore the redevelopment of the Riverside Theatres, including finalising a business case.
If council and government can’t reach an agreement on the scope of the theatres’ redevelopment, council can potentially take the $100 million, now in trust, and proceed with the renovation itself.
But with total costs expected to exceed $160 million, and given the amount of planning work done to date, there may be little appetite for council to go it alone.