NEW LOOK: The Pilbeam Theatre precinct will receive a makeover.
NEW LOOK: The Pilbeam Theatre precinct will receive a makeover. Contributed

Is this Rockhampton's Cinderella moment?

LIKE the story of Cinderella, the Pilbeam Theatre precinct project will be awarded to the business with a design brief that fits the area to deliver a fairy tale ending for the local art and business community.

With a conference centre, world-class performing arts precinct and community space at the top of the Rockhampton Regional Council's wish list, a design brief incorporating the work and play needs of the community will put suitors in good stead to secure the project.

Councillor Drew Wickerson said the right match would attract more events and thousands of people to the region.

"While the needs analysis outcomes will rigorously inform the best options for the Pilbeam Theatre Precinct redevelopment, it is likely that this will include a large capacity, high quality conference centre,” Cr Wickerson said.

"Rockhampton is geographically ideally located to allow ready access from anywhere in the state for major conferences and entertainment events that the council envisages will attract tens of thousands of people every year.

"This alone will have a significant positive economic impact on the hospitality and accommodation sector in our region.”

Qualified architectural design and planning consultants with previous experience in civic buildings, performing arts developments and the public realm sector were the ideal candidates for the project, according to Cr Wickerson.

The council released a design brief for the precinct earlier this week to redesign the theatre complex, existing art gallery building, forecourt and Pilbeam Theatre carpark in Bolsover Street.

The brief detailed the consultancy requirements for concept design development, a needs analysis of performance and event space in the region, and the development of cost plans and business case to allow for a feasibility review of the project.

"Once the commission has been awarded to the successful consultancy firm, the process to develop final concept designs, report and costings, including evaluating event space findings and review of three concept design options will take fourteen weeks,” he said.

A budget for the project will also be announced once the winning design brief is selected by the council. RRC will then approach state and federal governments for funding.

If all goes ahead, the project will transform the area 10 years after the proposed River Reach project folded.

Acton Property Corporation, which included directors Andrew Beaumont, cattle and property baron Graeme Acton, had planned the River Reach development, which included high-rise apartment units, but it was ditched after the impact of the Global Financial Crisis.

"The current brief is for a totally new project that will deliver a vibrant world-class performing arts precinct and community space, hopefully featuring a conference centre, right on the majestic Fitzroy River,” Cr Wickerson said.

RRC are expected to accept briefs for several months before selecting at least three redevelopment options to analyse.