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Culture and commerce clash in Hobart's CBD

If you’ve taken a walk in Niparna/Hobart recently, you’ve probably walked the streets of the city where you barely break your stride.

That’s about to change, says the developer of The Hanging Gardens, a mixed-use precinct of retail, living and cultural space aimed at keeping Hobart residents and visitors afloat.

Demolition of Stage 1 of In The Hanging Garden is currently underway. The first phase of development sees the construction of a new entrance to the district. It will form part of a pedestrian link connecting Watchen Street and Murray Street, improving access and patronage to Hobart’s city centre.

ITHG is a four-year collaboration between Melbourne-based property developer Riverlee and DarkLab, a creative agency founded by David Walsh, owner of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

Stages 2 and 3 of the project, designed by MONA architect Fender Katsaridis, include the historically significant Odeon Theater (Hobart’s first cinema will include a 180-key hotel) and adjoining buildings. , including the adaptation and repurposing of several heritage buildings. Including Tattersalls Hotel and Wellington House.

An artist’s impression of Hobart’s Hanging Gardens development.Image: Courtesy

Upon completion, the development of residential, office, hotel, retail and cultural facilities will span nearly the entire city block. According to his published ITHG masterplan for the project, nearly 50% of the precinct will be open to the public on multiple levels. It also serves as a home base for Hobart’s annual Dark His Mofo Festival and other events.

Read: Why Artists Are Essential to Activating Spaces

“This is a very Hobart project in many ways, but we’ve explored similar ideas interstate and internationally,” Riverlee’s director of development David Lee told ArtsHub. , how to reuse the old building there.I want to use what I have without forcing it, instead of tearing it down and starting from scratch.It is important to maintain a feeling of authenticity and coziness.

Commerce and culture can coexist in the same space, Lee said, but acknowledged that there will always be some degree of tension in relations between sectors.

“There will be competing interests, but I think we can strike a balance,” Lee said. It’s kind of like the second iteration and now we can see the way to a profitable project while maintaining a meaningful state and revitalizing the culture of the city, which is what this part of Hobart really needs This is what we are doing.

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However, Odeon’s future isn’t entirely clear. The venue has been used to host his concerts and shows since 2014, with major rock acts such as Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Tea Party, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Einstürzende Neubauten. has been the host of

However, with luxury hotels being built on top of it, Odeon is unlikely to be able to offer rock gigs of that size or intensity in the future.

The redeveloped Odeon Theatre, Hobart’s Artist Impressions.Image: Courtesy

“A rocking crowd and a planned hotel…it’s a very different user profile,” said Lee, who now plans to convert Odeon’s auditorium into a multi-purpose room that can host a wider variety of live shows and conferences. I added that it is.

“The Odeon is very special to all of us, but it also has its challenges,” Lee said. We are currently working on a concept to ensure its viability.

One problem is the Odeon’s sloping floor. “We can’t have banquet seating like we do now, so we have to deal with that,” Lee said.

The modernist design of the current Odeon facade, built in the mid-1950s, has been removed to reveal the building’s original architectural style. “We’re still investigating that. We believe everything underneath is still intact,” Lee said.

Hobart-based promoter and live music enthusiast Peter McPherson told ArtsHub:

“It’s hard to keep international bands coming in because it’s expensive, but losing a good medium-sized room like the Odeon makes it even harder. Two levels and a mosh pit if needed. It’s ideal in many ways because it has space for

He added that Hobart is running out of venues for 1,000 people. “300 or he has a room for 400, Wrest Point He also has a casino showroom, but it’s not that rock’n’roll. I think you’re going to miss it.”