It would cost around £1.6million to retain The Venue at Ebrington for another year, the North’s Social Development Minister has said.
Nelson McCausland also revealed it takes around £6,000 per month to run The Venue - which has been the setting for some of the major events of the City of Culture year.
The Minster was responding to an Assembly question from Foyle SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey who asked for an outline of “the current running costs for the Venue, and the projections his Department has made on the future running costs.”
Mr McCausland said: “My Department will have invested an estimated £4.8m in the Venue over the lifetime of the project. This figure comprises all initial construction and set up costs, recurrent costs throughout 2013 and the cost of taking the structure down in January 2014.
“The recurrent costs covered by the Department include rental of the structure, rates, day-to-day management of The Venue and the basic costs of running the Venue – for example, power and heating and line rental for telephones – when it is not being used for an event.
He continued:”Running costs for the days when The Venue is not in use fluctuate depending on the time of year, but they have so far averaged at £5,800 per month. The costs incurred when The Venue is in use are covered by the event promoter. These costs vary quite significantly depending on the nature of the event.
“Future running costs of the Venue would depend on whether The Venue is purchased or rented. Subject to planning permission and the agreement of ILEX/OFMDFM who own the site, the cost of renting The Venue at its current location on Ebrington would be £1.45 million per year. In addition to that figure, rates are estimated at £100,000 per year and around £70,000 would be needed to run the structure when no events are being held and a Venue manager would be required. In total, the Department estimates that £1.6 million would be required to retain the Venue on its current site for an additional year.
“Event related costs would be additional to that.”
Last week the Minister confirmed his officials are seeking private sector interest in its retention beyond the end of this year.