A car park in Wimbledon town centre could soon be turned into a new £200 million concert hall. An ambitious plan to create the 1,800-seat venue in the town is now underway.
Merton Council has agreed to start 12 months of exclusive work with the Wimbledon Concert Hall Trust to develop proposals for the Hartfield Road car park. The 150 space council-owned car park is earmarked by the authority to be used for a “cultural venue”. The trust wants to bring a 1,800 seat concert hall, designed by Frank Gehry to the site.
The award winning American architect is behind the The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr Gehry said: “Concert hall projects are the most exciting for me, love the people I love the challenge of it. I love music more almost than life itself. Having someone come to me with a concert hall project, my eyes light up. I’m in.”
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The trust will now focus on raising the £200 million needed for the project, former film director and chair of the trust, Anthony Wilkinson, said some pledges to back the concert hall have already been received.
He said: “I think it’s a really important development for Merton that could bring in huge amounts of finance as Frank Gehry’s building do. In Bilbao, the local council said it had brought in €4billion. The public of London need a modern concert hall with fine acoustics. We are intent on developing a modern state of the art hall that’s extremely flexible.”
Mark Allison, Merton council leader, said the concert hall would reinvigorate Wimbledon. He said: “Wimbledon may already be global name thanks to the tennis championships, but the opportunity to develop an international cultural venue fits well with our plans to reinvigorate Wimbledon town centre. The council looks forward to working with the trust to develop proposals that will be good for Merton’s local community.”