Work has begun on the Brisbane venue set to be operated by former Powderfinger bassist John Collins (JC) and Paul Piticco (Secret Sounds, Splendour In The Grass).

The pair already operate the 800-capacity venue The Triffid in Newstead, which opened its door in 2014. Now, JC and Paul Piticco are working with Scott Hutchison, the Chairman of Hutchinson Builders – aka Australia’s biggest independent construction company with over 2.5 billion dollars of annual revenue.

Scott Hutchinson is determined to see the music industry thrive, spending $43 million to construct a replacement for the iconic Festival Hall (demolished in 2003) at 312 Brunswick Street. But, as the ABC points out, the new 3,500-capacity venue will only be valued at $25 million.

“[…] it’s not a good business decision at all, it’s a labour of love,”Hutchinson told ABC Radio Brisbane.

Festival Hall lives on in name only; it was converted into an apartment block, Festival Towers, which displays photos in its lobby of the famous artists who graced its stages.

Under the working title of Fortitude Hall (the final name of which will be decided by Piticco and JC), demolition is now underway with the roof being removed and raised.

fortitude hall brisbane development
Facebook: Scott Hutchinson

The new venue will have a mix of retail stores and a function space and is situated in the centre of the lively Brunswick Street Mall, just next door to the Black Bear Lodge and about 400 metres from the Judith Wright Centre, the host venue for the annual Bigsound conference.

As a patron of integral industry body QMusic, Hutchinson is heavily invested in Australia’s music industry.

“The music scene is that fragile, it could easily turn into nothing,” he told TIO last December. “It could all just disappear. The value of land in the inner city is now more than music venues can pay. So someone has to go in there, buy [property that will] become music venues, and take a financial hit for them to survive.”

Scott Hutchinson spoke to TIO for its Fear At The Top podcast last year, when he said his new developments for the city would protect Brisbane’s live music scene for at least 1,000 years.