The massive task facing any developer of the Odeon

First published in The Odeon

Any scheme to bring the former Odeon building back into use will require a major engineering project at huge cost, according to experts.

Its condition has steadily worsened since it was last used in July 2000 and a structural report by Lambert Smith Hampton, produced for the HCA earlier this year, declared parts of the roof to be in such a dangerous condition that emergency repairs were immediately ordered on public safety grounds.

But the report also highlighted the overall decaying condition of the 1930s building where water ingress was causing bricks, mortar and the building’s structural steel frame to rot, rodent and pigeon infestation was rife and asbestos had become dangerously exposed.

Since then the HCA has spent a £1 million in total on the emergency roof repairs and asbestos removal.

But as far back as 2004, a separate study by engineering consultants Ove Arup & Partners – the engineers behind the Sydney Opera House and the Millenium Bridge – concluded that the building was even then beyond economic repair.

Renovating the towers alone, it stated, would cost £3.6m but would only have extended their expected lifespan by a total of 30 years.

Arup’s report also highlighted the “corroded” state of the building’s steelwork which it pointed out was difficult to access in many places as it was embedded within ornate brickwork.

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