Less than a week after it was announced that AIS Arena could be repurposed into a Volleyball Centre of Excellence, Canberra looks set to lose another iconic entertainment venue.
The ANU Bar looks set to be torn down next year as part of the redevelopment of Union Court and University Avenue.
In documents on the Union Court project website the bar is earmarked for "potential building removal" and an artist's impression of the new Union Court shows a library with a giant aluminium "verandah" where the ANU Bar now stands.
Also earmarked for potential building removal are the ANU Arts Centre, The Gods Cafe & Bar and cabaret destination Teatro Vivaldi (to be replaced by a health and wellness centre).
But the ANU has promised the reinvigoration of Union Court will include a range of new performance spaces including an amphitheatre, pavilions for pop-up events, and, for the first time, a dedicated events building. Whether the ANU Student Union will have a role in managing any of the spaces remains to be seen, with existing service providers required to tender for providing new services.
According to a timeline on the website, demolition work will begin late next year and work will continue throughout 2018. The new Union Court would be launched to coincide with the beginning of the 2019 academic year.
The project will be delivered by Vancouver-based firm CIVITAS Urban Design and Master Planning, whose current projects include the Xindeng City Centre concept plan in Xindeng, China, the Abu Dhabi Capital City District project and the reinvigoration of Coal Harbour in Vancouver.
The redevelopment of Union Court is significant and includes 1.1 square kilometres between Childers Street and Sullivans Creek.
"The vision for Union Court and University Avenue is to create a living heart for ANU's campus, while also creating an engaging nexus for the community of Canberra and the university," the CIVITAS website says.
The entire University Avenue precinct looks set to be reclassified into five distinct areas – the Green Spine, the Village Heart, The Living Village and the City/Campus gateway. The existing ANU Bar stands firmly in the future "Village Heart" which, based on vision documents, could transform into a library and cultural centre inspired by the Mondavi Centre at the University of California in Davis.
According to the project website, a pop-up village will be built while major works are completed.
"Both the revitalised Union Court and the pop-up village during construction will have a student bar," an ANU spokesman said.
"The student bar in the new Union Court will include space and facilities for bands and other performances."
While the spokesman was unable to confirm the cost of the project, the project website states: "This project is likely to represent a large capital investment, and if it is approved the university will be looking at partnership model and outside funding, not unlike the ANU Exchange project."
An ANU Bar representative declined to comment.
The ANU Bar has been an institution in Canberra for more than 30 years, and has seen performances by international headliners Nirvana, the Black Eyed Peas and Public Enemy. The bar's website shows acts booked early next year, with Australian rock icons the Living End playing on Wednesday, March 8.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.