Perth Entertainment Centre
Built jointly by the Perth television station Channel 7 and the Edgley Entertainment Group at a cost of $7 million, this building when opened in 1974 contained an 8,000 seat auditorium (at the time of its opening, it was the biggest covered auditorium in Australia), two cinemas, a restaurant and a tavern.
With the opening of the Burswood Dome in 1988, its use fell into decline. The centre had been vacant since 2002, and was finally demolished in September/October 2011 and the site is being re-developed as part of the Perth City Link project which will see the city linked with Northbridge. The project includes sinking the inner-city rail line.
The venue was conceived and championed by the late Brian Treasure, then General Manager at Perth television station TVW 7 and theatrical entrepreneur Michael Edgley. Their interest was principally that their two organisations had mounted large stage shows which toured the country in circus tents; a process that created major logistical challenges.
The venue was designed by architects Hobbs, Winning and Leighton and was forecast to cost $5 million, but its construction coincided with a period of intense industrial action. Delays and interruptions, including strike action which was timed to coincide with concrete pours, led to a cost blow-out. The final cost was $8.3 million and interest charges put immediate financial pressure on the venture.
The venue opened on 27 December 1974 as the Channel 7 Edgley Entertainment Centre with the Australian debut of the second Disney On Parade show. In around 1975 the owners approached the State and Federal governments for assistance and the Government of Western Australia took ownership of the building, renaming it The Perth Entertainment Centre.
With a capacity of 8003 seats, the Entertainment Centre was Perth's primary large concert venue from 1974 until its closure in 2002. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest purpose built regular theatre (containing a proscenium arch) in the world. The venue also played host to a number of theatrical extravaganzas, as well as a range of other events including musicals, circuses, corporate functions and international beauty pageants (Miss Universe 1979).
The Centre was home to NBL team Perth Wildcats from 1990 until 2002. The Wildcats won the 1990, 1991, 1995 and 2000 NBL championships while the centre was their home court. It was also home to the Perth Breakers of the WNBL from 1988 to 1989.
The venue was owned by the Seven Network and was officially closed in August 2002. In 2005, the Government of Western Australia unveiled plans for a new entertainment centre to be built on the site of the carpark for the existing centre. In 2006, the new centre was officially given the name of Perth Arena. Demolition of the disused venue began on 11 May 2011 and was completed in December 2011, in preparation for the State Government's Perth City Link project and included tentative approvals for new residential and business towers on the site.