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National Theatre to Be Demolished for Shopping Mall

Tenants at the National Theatre have been given until the end of this month to vacate the premises. Uganda National Cultural Center (UNCC) ordered the tenants to pack their wares and move out during a meeting held on Wednesday last week.

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The National Theater has been in a sorry state for over six decades despite its prime location next to the parliament building. The building is among 51 buildings and sites in Kampala, which were constructed before 1969.

This iconic 60-year-old piano-shaped building that houses the National Theatre in Kampala is set for demolition to pave way for a 36-storey modern tower.

According to the proposed plan, the facility is set to be transformed into a mega complex with a multi-million shopping mall, arcades, modern restaurants, bars, cinemas, state of the art auditoriums and a six underground car parking.

This mega project will cost $100 million (about Shs 360 billion). UNCC is expected to sign a contract with the developers by next week. Currently, UNCC generates Shs 2 billion from the National Theater in rent and projects to generates Shs 50 billion annually once the project is complete.

Ivan Amanya, a lawyer with Mayende & Associated Advocates has been occupying suite no. 15-17 on the second floor of the National Theatre building. According to Amanya, although he knew this was coming, given the redevelopment plans, he thinks tenants would be given more time, adding that month eviction notice is unfair.

Amanya says they are still consulting and will announce their next course of action when they receive the formal eviction notices. Veteran artist, Jack Sserunkuma, says they are concerned by the way government has taken their industry for granted.

He claims that they were never consulted about the proposed redevelopment of the theatre. Sserunkuma told URN on Monday that the National Theater has been his sole source of income since 1974 where he has been performing from. He faults the UNCC for giving them short notice, saying they had already planned shows at the theater.

Source: All Africa News

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Posted by Mubiru Frank, senior news reporter & Editor

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