LN To Operate Melbourne’s Palais Theatre

LN Australia won the bid to operate Melbourne’s  for 30 years effective April 1, 2017, on behalf of the City of Port Phillip, it was announced July 11. 

The venue, which started almost 90 years ago, is in the creative precinct of St. Kilda. Michael Coppel, Melbourne-based president and CEO of LN Australia and New Zealand, said: “Live Nation Australia is thrilled to have been successful in securing the rights to operate the Palais Theatre. Both as a ma and ), and the Palais Theatre Management Company (PTMC), which had run the venue since 2007 and widened business to the point it was listed in Pollstar’s year-end data of top grossing venues in 2013. PTMC was dropped from the list in March. A grassroots residents’ campaign claimed that LN would not foster the same community ties that PTMC had.

But City of Port Phillip rejected these, saying LN put forward the best approach to enhancing community benefits, “including community engagement, governance and fundraising, with the potential to not only retain but extend the social, economic and cultural benefits arising from the operation of the Palais Theatre for both the local St Kilda and broader Melbourne communities.”

As part of the deal, LN will set up the Palais Theatre Community Fund (PTCF). A 50-cent contribution from each ticket sold – estimated by LN to generate A$4 million ($3 million) over the term of the lease – for community projects. The Palais is set to have A$43.4 million ($32.8 million) worth of badly needed renovations, to which the Victorian state government has committed A$13.4 million ($10.1 million) and the City of Port Phillip A$7.5 million ($5.6 million).

Aside from the community fund, LN is also expected to contribute A$7.3 million ($5.5 million) for theatre redevelopment to begin within five years, A$2.4 million ($1.8 million) in provision of the theatre at cost to Council for eight community purpose days per annum, and annual rent commencing at A$875,000 ($661,580). In all, it is estimated the promotion will contribute almost A$60 million ($453 million) over its lease.