Current Palais Management Out Of The Running To Operate The Theatre
The current operator of the iconic Palais Theatre in St Kilda has been dropped from the shortlist of applicants vying to run the 89-year old venue on behalf of Port Phillip Council.
That leaves just promoter and venue operator Live Nation Australasia Pty Ltd and Sydney family business Playbill Venue Management Pty Ltd (Hordern Pavilion, Royal Hall of Industries) in the running to take over from 2017, Council has confirmed.
“The current operator, Palais Theatre Management Company Pty Ltd’s, (PTM) proposal will not proceed further,” Council stated.
Palais Theatre Management Company took over running the venue since 2007. It built the number of events from 30 to 100 widening its programming g to comedy, ballet and opera. In 2013 was named by US-based global live music trade publication Pollstar magazine as one of the Top 25 highest-grossing concert venues in the world.
Council will not release explanations for its choice until March, when the final decision is made. However it is believed that the other two may have been green-lighted because they had a greater financial backing to contribute to the $43.4 million worth of restoration to the building. The State Government has committed $13.4 million and the Council's $7.5 million.
Palais Theatre CEO Neil Croker told The Age he was "immensely disappointed” by Council’s decision. “We put in a tender bid that we were very happy with and proud of. Clearly Council had stronger offers from other parties and quite possibly we were at a disadvantage because we are in the business and knew the costs involved."
In all, 37 companies applied to run The Palais. The shortlist for a private operator was announced in August 2015, with all three submitting their tenders by November 20.
Council explained, “The evaluation process is designed to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved for the long term lease of The Palais to secure the significant community, economic, social and cultural benefits associated with the theatre into the future.”
The three proposals were assessed against the following objectives:
* To maintain the site as a live performance venue and cultural icon in St Kilda
* To maximise the economic, social, health and cultural benefits to the precinct and community
* To develop a leasing model that enables commercial viability for the tenant and a net positive position for Council
* To transfer building maintenance, compliance and future upgrade responsibilities/liabilities to the lessee
* To ensure the use and any development of the site aligns with the development of the St Kilda Triangle
* For the building to be compliant with contemporary standards and in good condition when the lease expires
* To preserve the heritage value of the site.