It's dominated the skyline in Auburn Street for almost a year, lifting large panels into one of the city's largest construction projects.
But soon the crane hovering above the performing arts project at the former McDermott Centre will disappear.
Councillors were given an update on the $18.95 million development at their meeting on Tuesday.
It coincides with the appointment of a performing arts centre manager, Raina Savage, ahead of the venue's expected completion in October.
Zauner Constructions has been working on the site for more than a year. Brewster Hjorth Architects designed the 400-seat theatre as an adaptive re-use of and addition to the McDermott Centre. It also includes a foyer, cafe/bar and office space.
Operations director Matt O'Rourke told The Post the project was proceeding well with all 210 of the pre-cast auditorium wall panels installed.
"The roof is being placed and demolition of the old internal walls (in the McDermott Centre) is complete. They are being reinstated with wider openings," he said.
"It's going well and we hope to have the crane gone by the end of March. That will mean the roof is complete and the building is watertight. The focus will then move to the internal fitting."
Inside, seating rows were finished in December, enabling a control room to be built at the auditorium's rear.
Structural steel installation, connection of internal catwalks to the auditorium's roof will occur this month.
But a fire booster station's installation at the building's frontage in December has raised some eyebrows among developers. Some, who wished to remain anonymous, have questioned whether its Auburn Street position would be allowed in any other project.
The station enables fire authorities to connect appliances in the event of an outbreak.
Council general manager Warwick Bennett acknowledged it "wasn't the best place" and said he was discussing its relocation with NSW Fire and Rescue.
So far, $9,695,250 has been spent on the project, including $8,087,328 in construction costs. A total $125,000 has been allocated for the cafe fit-out, and $800,000 for contingencies.
The council recently appointed Ms Savage as the venue's manager. She previously managed a performing arts centre at Griffith, worked for the council there and had extensive experience in the field.
"She will get involved in the operational component...and fill up a performance agenda," Mr O'Rourke said.
"It's important to start now because a lot of touring shows do their schedules a year in advance. It's not automatic that you attract them because they're coming this way because some have specific requirements on fit-out and what's on offer."
An operating budget for the venue and draft fees and charges for commercial and community hire will go to councillors in coming months.
Widening Post Office Lane
In related news, councillors on Tuesday also agreed to compulsorily acquire a 256 square metre strip of Crown land on the eastern side of Post Office Lane. The lane runs off Montague Street and gives access for construction vehicles, Corrective Services and Telstra.
This needed to be widened to allow delivery vehicles "adequate access" to the back of the centre, a report stated.
It will require a section of fencing on the courthouse's western boundary to be relocated.
"The proposal met favourably with the Department of Communities and Justice, noting that they will also benefit by way of a much improved access lane to transport prisoners to the back of the courthouse for hearings," the report stated.
Staff recommended that a sandstone pillar beside the laneway should remain where it was "for now" given telecommunications infrastructure nearby, but also as a traffic calming device once the PAC opens. Traffic would be monitored to assess how well this worked but Mr O'Rourke warned that any relocation would involve heritage considerations.
The council will bear the estimated $100,000 land acquisition cost. It prompted Deputy Mayor Peter Walker whether the price could be discounted, given that Communities and Justice also benefited from the widening.
Mr O'Rourke replied that further discussions could occur given that the process would take about 12 months.
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