According to a Society official, the civic body had proposed a plan to convert the heritage building into a civic museum and performance space in January. However, the proposal was delayed for several reasons, including the pandemic.
“Now we have invited architects and consultants to prepare a detailed plan for the restoration project. The plan will include the dismantling of unsafe or dilapidated areas, as well as details on architecture, structure, electrical, interiors and other aspects of the structure,” the official said.
It is learned that the State Department of Tourism has agreed to provide Rs 40 crore for the restoration project. Once Victoria Hall is converted into a city museum, the civic body would allow artists and exhibitors to rent the hall for exhibitions, which would help generate revenue for its upkeep.
The outdoor lawns will host performances of rural and folk art, contemporary and street theater and other art forms that can be performed outdoors. The interior galleries will support performances, lectures, lecture-demonstrations, film screenings and other similar functions. The local would also have an art cafe, gift shop or retail store which could generate additional income.
The Society had planned to renovate Victoria Hall and had issued tenders earlier. But the project hit a snag due to the unavailability of skilled workers trained in renovating heritage structures. Studies were conducted with the experts from Anna University and IIT-Madras to assess the damage.
The civic body has already removed the boundary wall that separated Victoria Hall from the Ripon Building to bring the two heritage buildings within the same premises, and work to create pathways connecting the two buildings has been completed.