Wodonga Cinema Redux

It’s been nine months since I wrote my first post about the proposed Wodonga Cinema Centre, and I think that today it’s less likely to happen than ever.

My basic reasons for dismissing this development are unchanged, I think that the Regent Cinema in Albury already services this area well, the site for the proposed cinema will further fragment the already disorganised Wodonga CBD and the cinema business, nationally, is still in fairly rocky shape (have a look at my original post to see these points fleshed out further).

Since February, however, what was being referred to at the time as a credit crunch has turned into The Global Economic Crisis™ and our economy has soured along with it. The current financial situation turns what was, in my opinion, a marginal project at best into an absolute dud.

In addition to this, Quest Apartments finally get around to opening their 104 room Albury property in a few weeks, meaning the serviced apartments slated for the Wodonga Cinema Centre will be entering an even more crowded market at a time when it is fair to assume that both business and personal travel will be on the decline.

I certainly hope, for the sake of the rate-payers in Wodonga, that the soon to be elected Wodonga Council look very carefully at this project before they waste any money on what can only be described as a vanity project.

7 thoughts on “Wodonga Cinema Redux

  1. Hang on. What do you mean “wodong council …waste any money on”

    To my understanding Council is not spending any money on the Cinema Complex. What they are doing is providing a long term lease to some Cinema Operators from Wangaratta on council carpark between their building and civic centre. Whether the onus is on council or the cinema operator to provide for a new carpark , i am not to sure. I bet it’s on the operator.

    Your probably right that the cinema centre being slwow to develop because of the GFC. So will everything. What about:
    * new conference centre for the commercial club.
    * new retail at the SSA Club.
    * development in Volt Lane
    * “tower” for lavington by zauner.

    Anyway Albury City Council is having community forums for the future development of both their CBD’s. http://www.alburycity.nsw.gov.au/www/html/17-news.asp?n=1070
    Maybe their getting concerned re new developments in Wodonga.

  2. I certainly hope that you are correct about Wodonga Council not spending any money on the project Kate, either directly or indirectly through rates discounts or any other type of sweetheart deal.

    As for the new developments in Albury, none of them have as much drive from the council as the Wodonga Cinema does. I admittedly have only lived here for ten years, but a Wodonga cinema is an idea that has raised its head time and time again and councillors always seem to fall over themselves in a rush to talk the project up.

    But the central tenets of my argument remain;

    Wodonga residents are already well served by the Regent Cinema in Dean St.

    The location of the Wodonga Cinema would further fragment the Wodonga CBD, especially once the Elgin St developments begin. It will also draw people away from Stanley St which the council has been trying to make a focal point.

    Nationally, the cinema business is struggling, and an independent cinema like the one proposed for Wodonga will have a hard time competing with the Regent, which has strong traditional ties to a national distributor.

    I also think the bowling alley is a strange choice when their popularity is on the wane and Wodonga already has one, and the serviced apartments will struggle against the existing operators and the nationally recognised Quest apartments.

    Today you can walk out of the Regent Cinema in Albury and there are a host of cafés and bars within easy walking distance, even with its own retail section the Wodonga Cinema won’t be able to replicate that. I simply cannot see people completely changing the way they spend their leisure time because of the introduction of a cinema in Wodonga.

  3. I am reliably informed that whilst the develop is running behind schedule, they still have every intention of building the cinema centre. There was some rumour that the project had fallen through, especially as it was due to have been built in the coming year.

    The cost to Wodonga Ratepayers is nil, the onus for the new carpark is on the developer. I wish it would be build already, rather than fragmenting Wodonga’s CBD I reckon this development could add some much needed depth. I’d rather see it on the Stanley St pool site, but I’d also like to see the pool stay there!

    Dave reckons people wont change their entertainment habits, I reckon that people in Wodonga will be more likely to goto a cinema closer to them. Going out to Albury is an expedition, High St is just down the road.

  4. Going out to Albury is an expedition

    Seriously? Surely your tongue is planted firmly in your cheek Kieran?

    I think the Wodonga Cinema will be under utilised because it doesn’t offer enough to overcome the extra five minute drive to get to Albury. If you want dinner and a movie the ‘expedition’ to Dean St would be easily worthwhile. Movie and a few drinks afterwards? Again, there’s no lack of choice in Dean St, but very few options in the Wodonga CBD.

    As much as pub culture is decried, it’s not a bad indicator of how people will choose to spend their entertainment dollar. If people weren’t willing to come to Albury for entertainment, there’d be no need for the night rider bus, that presently takes a tour across the river to drop home those who can’t drive. The Albury CBD is the entertainment hub of this area and I can’t see a cinema in Wodonga changing that.

    As to the influence on the CBD, considering the delays in the project, why not wait a bit longer and put in on the land in Elgin St that will be made available when the railway is removed? That would be a much better site as it would encourage renewal of the area around it.

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