Shangri-La to Give Cairns its Art Centre?

The Shangri-La Hotel plans to add a performing arts centre to their waterfront site, giving Cairns a facility it has been trying and failing to build for nearly two decades.

According to The Cairns Post, Shangri-La is planning the $60 million but it hinges on a funding deal with the commonwealth, state government and Cairns Regional Council.

Shangri-La general manager George Wee said recent announcements about direct flights to China and the G20 summit meant the time had arrived to expand.

“It could be a real cornerstone of the CBD revitalisation,” Mr Wee said of the performing arts centre. “The location is a winner, it brings buzz back to the CBD and it delivers a facility that the community needs.
“A key part of what we’re about is fitting in with the local community,” Mr Wee told The Cairns Post.

Designs are only in the early stages but the company’s preferred proposal includes an 1100-seat theatre at the northern end of The Pier complex, currently used as parking space. Mr Wee said Shangri-La would need to secure the partnership with governments soon or be forced to consider interest from other private companies that want to move into the complex.

If negotiations with governments proceed, Mr Wee said the facility could be finished in time for the G20 finance ministers meeting in 2014 and would coincide with an upgrade of the hotel and The Pier shopping complex.

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