Hillsong Church has announced that it has purchased Melbourne's beloved music venue, Festival Hall. The concert hall, which has hosted world-famous acts including the Beatles and Frank Sinatra, and more recently Lorde and Ed Sheeran, has been up for sale for more than three years. Title records show the deal was struck on 16 October, the church purchasing the venue for $23,375,000.
Hillsong senior pastor and founder Brian Houston detailed his renovation plans for Festival Hall which, if permissions go ahead, will included a newly built ministry at one end of the building."Since early 2019 we began to talk about Festival Hall ... By God's grace we have been able to purchase [it] and it is going to become the city location for Hillsong Melbourne," he said.
"There's going to be a complete renovation of the building, including potentially building at one end, two or three floors where we can have kids ministry and all of the others that connect to week to week having church," he said during their online address.
"Not everyone's gonna like it, I'll tell ya now. Hillsong Church having such a significant building of Melbourne, not everyone's gonna like it. But I believe the Lord sure loves it, I love it and you sure love it. Thank God."
The huge single-story venue has been a staple of Melbourne's event scene for more than a century. Built in 1915, it was destroyed by fire in the 1950s and rebuilt in time for the 1956 Olympic Games.