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Search begins for Wolverhampton Civic Halls operator

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Attractions | Published:

Council chiefs in Wolverhampton have begun the search for an external operator to run the city's iconic Civic Halls.

The revamped venue is due to open next year

The opportunity to run the city centre halls is being advertised as part of a £20 million tender.

The contract includes a 40-year lease and is confirmation of the authority's intention to strike a long-term deal.

It was announced in October that the council would bring in an external operator to run the halls once they reopen following an extensive refurbishment which has seen them shut for a long period.

Officials believe bringing experts on board is the best way of maximising revenue and attracting big names to the Civic and Wulfrun halls.

The tender notice states: "The council is now seeking to procure an experienced and qualified operator to manage the Civic Halls and the council's preferred deal structure is a long-term lease arrangement. This is an exciting opportunity for an organisation to partner with the council.

"The vision for the project is as follows: 'To be a prestigious multifunctional venue, enabling generations of Wulfrunians and fans across the globe to share unforgettable memories with world-renowned performers, boosting the local, regional and national economy'."

Delays

Work recently re-started on the Civic which is expected to be open again next year.

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The major overhaul of the venue has been hit by a series of delays, partly due to original contractor Shaylor going bust.

The famous venue has been shut since 2017, resulting in major events such as the Grand Slam of Darts and top comedians switching to Aldersley Leisure Village.

City council leader Ian Brookfield said in October that bringing in an external operator would help the halls to "pay for themselves".

He added: "With this latest development we will be ideally placed to attract a variety of internationally acclaimed acts. We will still retain ownership of the venue as a council, but instead have an external contractor running it.

“We are leaving no stone unturned and exploring every option to make this a world-class entertainment centre for the city of Wolverhampton."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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