Architectural concept plans for the Lismore Quadrangle project.
Architectural concept plans for the Lismore Quadrangle project. Contributed

Lismore Quadrangle will create jobs and boost the economy

LISMORE is canvassed to become a hub of art and creativity with the long-awaited Lismore Quadrangle now a reality thanks to $2.85 million in recently announced Federal funding.

The redevelopment of C Block will become the anchor point of the Lismore Quadrangle and will house the relocated Lismore Regional Gallery, an office space for Arts Northern Rivers, combined event, function and workshop spaces, combined meeting rooms, commercial space for Co-op Bookshop and an outdoor piazza connecting C Block with the conservatorium and library.

'Anchor point' for CBD

Gallery director Brett Adlington said he estimated the project would boost visitor numbers to the site to about 300,000 annually.

He said this would help to create 27 direct jobs and expand Lismore's economy by $1.8 million per year.

"It is incredibly exciting that after many, many years of working towards this project, the Lismore Quadrangle is set to become a reality," Mr Adlington said.

"It will mean that the old Lismore High School site and the C Block building will become a strong anchor point for the Lismore CBD, with a program of exhibitions and events unable to be presented in the current facility.

"There will also be a public gathering place, which Lismore CBD has lacked, and this has the potential to become a real feature of the city centre.

"This is just wonderful, unbelievable, fantastic news for our city."

Momentous occasion

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said the remainder of the $5.8 million project would be funded by $120,000 from the Lismore Quadrangle Pledge Campaign, $300,000 from the sale of the existing building, $126,800 in other public donations, a $110,000 Arts NSW grant and $500,000 donated by a private foundation.

The council will fund the remainder with borrowings of up to $1.9 million, and Friends of the Gallery will work to boost fundraising to help minimise council borrowings.

"This is an absolutely momentous occasion - it was quite overwhelming to receive the news and our heartfelt thanks goes out to Mr Hogan and the Australian Government," Cr Dowell said.

"This project will be such a wonderful boost for our CBD and our city as a regional centre for the arts. With the redevelopment of City Hall and now the new gallery, we can offer visitors and residents modern facilities where they will be able to experience world-class theatre and arts. This is a huge step forward for Lismore."

Award-winning Bangalow architects Dominic Finlay-Jones Architects are behind the Quadrangle design.

Tenders for the project are expected to be called mid next year with work likely to begin in September 2016.

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