Originally the Wintergarden Theatre, and more recently Blockbuster and a gym, an iconic CBD building will be preserved and revitalised as a Community Hub.
The project is one of the first to be delivered as part of Bundaberg Regional Council’s vision for a Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct.
The hub, located on Maryborough Street, will provide permanent office space for a range of community groups in addition to low-cost rooms for hire for not-for-profit and community organisations.
The design and renovation of the building was funded in Council’s most recent budget.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the aim of the Civic and Cultural Arts Precinct, which would also include a new art gallery, performing arts theatre and Council service centre, was to inject new life into the CBD.
“But of course, the heart of any city is its community groups and organisations,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“This Community Hub will provide tenancy spaces for local organisations, however it will be so much more than that.
“It will be a low-cost, well resourced facility that not-for-profit and community groups can use to host meetings, forums, provide training or raise awareness for important causes.”
Local architect Tomas O’Malley won the tender to design the internal fitout of the Community Hub, which will focus on preserving the building’s history while providing modern facilities.
Initial internal demolitions are expected to commence early in 2022, with the main element of construction starting from mid-2022.
The Community Hub is expected to be complete towards the end of 2023.
Community Hub to celebrate heritage of iconic building
By the time the historic building takes on its new role as a Community Hub it will be just shy of 100 years old.
Officially opened in the late 1920s, the Wintergarden Theatre remained in operation as a popular community facility until 1968.
A significant internal renovation occurred in 1994 in the former theatre’s auditorium which resulted in the balcony level being transformed into a second floor.
The upstairs area became a gymnasium, retaining all of the decorative plasterwork and the upper section of the theatre’s stage.
The ground floor was a Blockbuster video store until it closed in 2017 and has been vacant ever since.
“It is wonderful to now have an opportunity to celebrate this well-loved piece of local history and ensure it remains in the hands of the community,” Mayor Dempsey said.