Monday, July 26, 2010

Save The St James

Somebody Please Reopen The St. James Theatre

Jul 26th, 2010 by Hussein Moses

The St. James Theatre which opened on July 5, 1928 is picking up more and more devotees who call themselves the St. James Saviours. 3 News ran a story on the saviours last night who are campaigning to get the theatre restored. They’re led by Bob Kerridge — who’s father Sir Robert Kerridge previously owned the theatre — and other members include Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, Sam Neil and various historians and politicians.

A fire causing damage forced the theatre to shut its doors in 2007 and it hasn’t reopened since. The owners of the block, which goes from Lorne Street to Queen Street, were granted permission to build a 39-story apartment block in it’s space but the building has heritage protection which means that it can’t be knocked down; the only thing is that the owner of the building, Paul Doole, is under no obligation to restore it.

The report from 3 News says that the saviours are now in talks with Doole who may resort to building around the theatre. When asking mayor John Banks his opinion of the situation he said, “It looks like $80 million any day of the week. It looks very expensive, but not withstanding that it’s a great piece of history and one day we are going to need to confront it.” You can join the ‘Save The St. James Theatre’ Facebook group here and for those interested you can check out Radio New Zealand’s iexcellent nterview with Bob Kerridge here. [via 3 News]
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Tags: Auckland City, St. James Theatre

Gerry o Ponsonby thinks

If Mr Doole is a really smart developer, and lets face, it is a while since we have had one here, he would restore the St James.
What a show piece it could be and a draw for prospective tenants for his apartments. I for one, if my budget allows would relish living there.
As well as being a commercial success it would give Mr Doole considerable respect and enhance his reputation as a developer. This is a no mean feat in these times where developers names are mentioned almost in the same breath as child molesters. Auckland would also win from such a development and we would have a theater district perhaps as hip or classic as any where in the world and definitely a showpiece of the Pacific .