Enabling works on the Civic Halls are set to be completed within days – paving the way for the full restoration and improvement programme to begin.
The £38.1 million project will see the iconic Grade II-listed building - affectionately-known as Wolves Civic - transformed into a world class venue.
Contractors have carried out extensive asbestos removal and the major construction phase can now get underway. It will see essential structural, engineering and electrical works undertaken and the restoration and improvements of the 80-year-old halls to ensure they remain a leading performance venue for decades to come.
The new programme means the Civic Halls will now re-open for business in autumn 2021.
Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said:
Wolves Civic is a very special place. Generations of Wulfrunians and music and comedy fans from across the UK have shared unforgettable memories here with international stars and the biggest bands. We’ll be creating a world-class venue for bigger audiences which is exactly what promoters are looking for. The Civic is a critical part of how we are re-imagining and re-inventing our city centre, along with great connectivity, great public spaces, great new homes, a great leisure and sporting offer, vibrant events, outstanding arts and culture, and a thriving commercial district. It forms part of the groundswell of regeneration activity across the city centre, where £1 billion of investment is on site or in the pipeline.”
Forecasts by creative economy consultants, BOP, last year indicated the improved Civic Halls will benefit the local economy to the tune of around £7.6 million a year and support 548 jobs.
Audience numbers are also expected to increase by over 10,000 a year over the opening years, to around 180,000 a year.
Visitors are set to benefit from a second balcony for the Civic Hall and a balcony in the Wulfrun Hall to provide additional seating.
The Civic Hall will have an extended stage to the rear to attract bigger and better shows.
Overall, there will be wider and more comfortable seats, bigger and better bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities to give visitors an improved experience, lift access to new balconies, better access arrangements for disabled visitors (including enhanced wheelchair access), a greater number of accessible viewing points, and improved room temperatures through the introduction of a new air conditioning system.
When completed, both venues will be able to cater for around 4,600 people standing or 3,130 people seated in total, an increase of almost 500 and 450 respectively.
Image caption: Councillor John Reynolds, checks out the new Civic Halls hoardings installed ahead of major construction works starting