Hillsong purchases Melbourne venue Festival Hall for $23 million
Christian church group Hillsong has purchased iconic Melbourne venue Festival Hall.
The acquisition was confirmed in a service uploaded by the organisation over the weekend.
Guardian Australia reports the deal was confirmed on October 16 for a sum of $23.375 million. The venue was on the market for more than three years and will be now owned by a new entity, Community Venues Pty Ltd.
In the video, Victorian state pastors Tim and Nicola Douglass said the venue would remain a concert venue, but with religious services on Sundays.
“This journey of purchasing this incredible facility started about 18 months ago. Just happened to hear that it was for sale and started enquiring, thinking that it was a long shot,” Douglass explained.
“Now, we’re sitting in a miracle. God can make a way even through impossible circumstances.”
Hillsong is also looking into renovating the venue, including adding extra floors. Festival Hall currently has a capacity of more than 5,000.
Artists such as Illy and The Amity Affliction have already criticised the purchase, with Amity vocalist Joel Birch suggesting the band would no longer host any concerts at the venue.
I don’t want any Amity shows giving any money to Hillsong, so see ya later then Festival Hall.
— Joel Birch (@JoelDTD) October 25, 2020
The venue was going to be demolished after struggling to compete with larger venues, but the plans came to a halt once it received heritage listing.