Plans are being drawn up for a hotel and conference centre as part of a major expansion of Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent.
The current agreement with Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which has run the Victoria Hall and the Regent Theatre since their relaunch in 1999, expires at the end of the year, and the authority plans to split the deal into two separate contracts for both venues to concentrate on finding a firm willing to extend Victoria Hall.
The Bagnall Street venue could be packaged as a joint venture with the adjacent town hall to accommodate hotel, conference and exhibition facilities. It would allow bosses to market conferences, accommodation and concerts together.
Regeneration officers say the hall’s location next to the £350 million City Sentral shopping complex, due to open in 2015, and the new Hanley bus station make it a prime site for development. Extending Victoria Hall would be expected to boost the £2.8 million spent in the city every year by theatre-goers.
ATG has argued that the council’s £596,000 subsidy for the venues, which will increase to £627,000 next year, is too low. The Surrey-based firm says it has made operating losses of £3.5 million since 1999, but confirmed yesterday it intends to bid to continue running both attractions.