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Welington Mayor Tory Whanau admits secrecy around cinema deal went on too long

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Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau has admitted the secrecy around the $32 million Reading Cinema deal went on for too long.

The deal is finally set to be discussed in public later this week after every councillor the Herald spoke to on Saturday indicated support for it to be aired.

The cinema building was closed in early 2019 after an earthquake risk was discovered and it has since become a symbol of the tired state of Courtenay Pl - a street that has traditionally been a key part of the nightlife and entertainment offering in Wellington.

The deal has always been discussed behind closed doors to protect commercial sensitivity but details were first leaked in October 2023 and have since been widely circulated in the public domain.

The council plans to buy the land beneath the building for $32m, money which the cinema chain would use to strengthen the building and reopen the cinema and later have the option of buying the land back at the sale price, the Herald understands.

Whanau discussed the latest during her monthly slot with Nick Mills on Wellington Mornings.

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