Ugandan authorities have announced plans to pull down the country’s national theatre building and erect a shopping mall in its place.
The management of the Uganda National Cultural Center (UNCC) issued a quit notice June 7th, ordering all tenants to move out of the National Theatre.
According to the Observer, all occupants have been given until the end of June to vacate the premises.
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Located in the capital, Kampala, the National Theatre is a piano-shaped building that also houses the Nommo Gallery.
The 60-year-old building will be pulled down and replaced with a 36-story, state-of-the-art, multi-purpose complex as part of new redevelopment plans.
Developers say the proposed facility will cost an estimated $100 million and will include a shopping mall, arcades, art galleries, restaurants and eateries, bars, cinemas, and underground car parking lots.
UNCC management is expected to sign a contract with project developers in the coming days.
Currently, the UNCC generates about Shs 2 billion ($557,580) in revenue from the National Theatre, but authorities expect the new project to produce an estimated Shs 50 billion ($13,939,500) in annual revenue upon completion.
The National Theatre is one of 51 buildings and sites in Kampala that was constructed before 1969.
Authorities had reportedly abandoned the National Theatre in the decades following its construction despite its prime location next to the parliament building.
Some tenants in the soon-to-be demolished building have described the quit notice as unfair, pointing out that the time frame involved does not give them enough time to secure alternative accommodations.
The proposed demolition of the iconic building is also proving quite unpopular with some stakeholders in the arts and entertainment industry, including veteran Ugandan artist Jack Sserunkuma, who says he is concerned by the way government has taken his industry for granted.