A "venues crisis" in the state has left the future of one of Wollongong's most treasured buildings up in the air after prospective buyers opted not to purchase the site.
Mid-last year it was announced that heavyweight live entertainment organisation Century Venues would explore the option of purchasing and restoring the historic Regent Theatre.
Century was considering "revitalising" the Regent Theatre, having taken out an option on the site.
The Century group owns and operates several premium music, theatre and comedy venues in Sydney, including the Enmore, Metro and Factory theatres.
This week, Greg Khoury, executive director of Century Venues confirmed that Century Venues' option on the Regent Theatre expired at the end of May this year, and they were unable to proceed with their plans to purchase the building and refurbish it as a live performance and music venue.
"Century believes that the Regent Theatre presents a unique opportunity to return a major heritage theatre building of national significance back to life as a working heritage theatre located in the heart of Wollongong," he said.
"To create a theatre with such an ambience and architectural merit in such a premium location would today be impossible.
"It's unfortunate, but like the Roxy in Parramatta, the Victoria in Newcastle and the Minerva and Theatre Royal in Sydney, there is a venues crisis in NSW, which needs to and can be addressed."
Mr Khoury also said if "somehow circumstances changed" they would be "definitely keen" on the Regent Theatre.
However, Marcelo Ramirez, director of Investment Services of selling agents Colliers International said they were continuing to have ongoing discussions with Century Venues regarding the sale of the premises.
Century also produces and tours live entertainment and festivals, including the Sydney Comedy Festival.
Last year, it was revealed Century believed that the Regent could potentially create a circuit of venues across Wollongong and Newcastle, partnered and underpinned by Century's Sydney venues.
"We are currently in an early due diligence stage and are testing the market and talking to locals about whether there is enough support for reopening the Regent as a live performance space," Mr Khoury said at the time.
"We see the opportunity to bring to Wollongong many of the national and international acts and performers we present in Sydney.
"Our plan is to operate the Regent as a revitalised, working heritage theatre relevant to the community."
The building was listed for sale in August 2017 via Expressions of Interest.
Gateway City Church bought the 1200-seat theatre for $3.5 million in 2005, then spent $1 million on improvements, also turning the space into an occasional live music venue.
The building was previously placed on the market in October 2009, in a surprise sale bid that came to nothing.
In 2016, the owners of the building painted the beloved landmark olive green, after heritage investigations confirmed this was the facade's original colour.
The main building and facade are listed under state heritage significance.
Gateway City Church pastor Scott Hanzy previously told the Mercury they had outgrown the venue.