News | 23 April 2024
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Council announcement on Reading Cinema proposal

Wellington City Council has ended negotiations with Reading Cinemas on a proposed deal aimed at reopening the cinema complex on Courtenay Place.

Exterior of Reading Cinema along Courtenay Place.

Senior Council staff reached a position where they did not believe they would be able to reach the best possible outcomes for Wellingtonians and the decision was made this week to not pursue the proposal further.  


Mayor Tory Whanau and elected members were briefed on the decision this afternoon. Mayor Whanau called the outcome “disappointing, but the right one”.


The Mayor and elected members voted last year to give staff the go-ahead to undertake due diligence and negotiate a $32 million arrangement that would go towards funding a comprehensive refurbishment of the building, including earthquake-strengthening. Reading voluntarily closed the building to the public in  2019.


Mayor Whanau says she was elected with a mandate to create a vibrant centre city. “A key part of that has been revamping the Courtenay Precinct, alongside delivering the Golden Mile, Pōneke Promise and Courtenay Precinct Plan,” says Mayor Tory Whanau.


“I’ve said many times that I supported officers to find a creative and innovative solution about what to do with the Reading building. However, I want to be very clear that this was never a done deal.”


City Council Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow says Council staff had worked extremely hard and endured great pressure in a bid to negotiate an arrangement with Reading.


“We always signalled that we would halt negotiations if we were not able  to reach a formal agreement in a timely manner. We’ve reached that stage.”


Mayor Whanau says she hopes Reading will look at the cinema site as holding great potential for redevelopment. “It would be heartbreaking for the site to sit unused for too long so I urge Reading to continue to explore development deals.”