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Wellington's Civic Square to become home to national music school

Wellington is about to become New Zealand's music capital with a deal yesterday confirming a national music school in Civic Square.

Wellington Council is renting out its municipal building, with world-class recording and streaming gear going into the town hall as soon as it is made earthquake-safe.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra will rent the first two floors of the council's old offices and Victoria University's music school will occupy the rest.

They'll also have use of the town hall as a rehearsal space, which has some of the best acoustics in the country.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says after an earthquake in 2016, a process of earthquake-strengthening began to ensure the safety of the building.

Today's deal relies on the council and its promise to put up $112 million or more to make sure the structure is brought up to a better standard.

"We'll spend what we need to, but we don't want to spend a dollar more than we have to," Mr Lester said.

The plan is to transform an unattractive Civic Square into a symbol of art and culture, and potentially lure more movie business to the capital.

"We'll be building a recording studio, a control room, which will be of international standard,and will enable us to do our film soundtrack recording work without the film company having to bring in all the gear, set it all up and then take it all down afterwards," said the orchestra's CEO, Christopher Blake.

The new tenants won’t be moving in until about 2023, when the work is done. The recent budget will be providing $6 million worth of help. 

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But first the town hall building has to be made earthquake-safe. Source: 1 NEWS