Work has started on the $16.1 million transformation of a historic Queensland butter factory into a world-class performing arts and cultural precinct.
Council is redeveloping the 1907-built Kingston Butter Factory and surrounds in Logan, south of Brisbane, with assistance from the state government’s $200 million Covid Works for Queensland program.
Split into two components, the project comprises a theatre and “living museum” in the butter factory building, along with an outdoor venue with a purpose-built stage and room for up to 5,000 people.
The project will be delivered by Brisbane builders Box & Co—the firm behind a number of other heritage renovation projects in the river city, including Newstead’s Green Beacon brewery and Brisbane Central State School in Spring Hill—with work expected to be completed by February next year.
Commencement of works at the site on 17 July came after council shelved plans for a $6 million innovation hub at the site last year.
Logan City Council mayor Darren Power said the venue, when finished, would be a significant addition to south-east Queensland’s tourism infrastructure.
“Having such a large outdoor space that can attract major events and festivals will bring massive economic benefits to Logan,” Power said.
“Infrastructure and jobs are critical for the community and our city in these challenging times.
“This is a great example of state and local government working together to deliver important social infrastructure for the community while creating jobs,” Power said.
“[The KBF precinct] will be a space the whole community can enjoy, where they can access world-class arts, culture, festivals and events.”
The announcement comes as arts and cultural organisations across Australia—and the globe—come to grips with the ongoing economic impact of Covid-19.
Local government minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the project would have wide-ranging benefits.
“The pandemic has landed a major blow on economies around the world, and that includes right here in Logan,” Hinchcliffe said.
“To that end, the redevelopment of the butter factory will support or create about 150 jobs and, once it’s up and running, even more with investment in restaurants and other small businesses in the area.”
Member for Waterford, Shannon Fentiman, said the precinct would incorporate the city’s largest outdoor events space.
“The whole space is being transformed—it will feature a black box-style theatre, rehearsal space and a living museum to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Logan, a community that I’m so proud to be a part of,” she said.
“This project is going to be a game-changer for local artists and I’m excited to see it transform into an arts and entertainment hub for the Logan community.”
With Logan’s population predicted to grow more than 50 per cent in the next two decades to around 548,000 residents, an uptick in infrastructure investment has seen the development of more than $18 billion of publicly-funded projects under way to support the growing residential population.
In May, design work began on a major expansion of Logan Hospital, with construction slated for next year.
In the private sphere, BMD Group’s Urbex snapped up a project site in the growing suburb of Logan Reserve for $8.2 million in 2018, with plans for a $40 million, 200-plus lot affordable housing project on the 19.42-hectare parcel of land in the suburb of Logan Reserve.