King’s hits bedrock

May 16 2024 | By | Reply More

Delays and cost escalation revealed for King’s

The King’s theatre refurbishment has been delayed and it will not now be ready in time to host events during EIF 2025 but instead is now expected to open for the 2025 pantomime.

The delay has been caused by the discovery of bedrock while digging out the base of a new lift shaft in the building as part of the refurbishment preparatory work. This has added 12 weeks to the project and £2.3 million to its budget.

King’s Foyer, showing placement of lift at (1), to right of main staircase. Render: Bennets Associates.

The latest delay was revealed in a report for the Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Communities Committee, meeting on Thursday 16 May 2024, where a request from Capital Theatres to draw on £12m of already allocated funds went through on the nod.

Total cost of the refurbishment now stands at an expected £37.9m, leaving Capital Theatres, which runs the Kings and Festival Theatres, with a £1.2m shortfall for the project. However Board members told the committee that they are confident that this funding gap can be closed by the time the project is complete.

Commenting on the delay, Capital Theatres said in a statement to Æ: “Robertson Construction Central East, the construction team working on the King’s Theatre, discovered bedrock closer to the surface than previously anticipated. This bedrock was situated in an area requiring to be dug out to create space for one of the two new large lifts.

“The additional structural alterations, design work and temporary support works required to remove the bedrock has resulted in an extension to the programme.

“The redevelopment is now set to be complete later in 2025, with the first full production on stage likely to be the annual pantomime.”

financial side

The report to the committee meeting concerns the financial side of the refurbishment and Capital Theatre’s need to start drawing from grants and loans offered them by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Capital Theatre have paid the contractors over £19m (47% of contract value) to date, which has been funded through grants from other organisations, benefactors and Capital Theatre funds. With an expected outlay of £15m over the next 12 months, the committee agree to give Capital Theatres access to already agreed capital grants of £7m and prudential borrowing of £5m.

According to the plans for the refurbishment, there are two new lifts being installed front of house, to the right and left of the main staircase. Both lifts will take patrons to the upper floors and the lift to the right of the staircase, as you look at it from street level, will provide access down to the Pit Bar.

Capital Theatres added: “The new lifts are a key feature of the redevelopment, making all floors of the King’s Theatre fully accessible to audiences, staff and visiting companies, whatever their needs, for the first time in the building’s 118-year history.

“As is often the case with heritage projects of this scale, the demolition works can uncover issues not previously apparent. Demolition will be complete this summer, significantly reducing the risk of further setbacks.”

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