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Arena negotiations formalised

Arena negotiations formalised

Auckland City Council will sign a formal heads of agreement to work on plans for a 12,000-seat indoor arena with a consortium led by the Sydney-based company Jacobsen Venue Management Pty Limited.

Jacobsen Venue Management (JVM) is part of a well-known Australian venue management company with a long track record of successful promotion and management of venues. These have included Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Newcastle Entertainment Centre, The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and Her Majesty’s Theatre in Brisbane.

Venues currently under JVM management include: Sydney Entertainment Centre Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Sydney Capital Theatre

Other members of the JVM-led consortium are Bovis Lend Lease (acting as project manager) and Auckland based construction company Mainzeal Construction. Leading architects are Crawford Architects, whose track record includes the Minnesota Stadium, Fenway Park Masterplan (Home of The Boston Red Sox) and the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Jacobsen-led consortium was the council’s second preferred proponent when it called for expressions of interest in the development and operation of an indoor arena in downtown Auckland.

The council has been in negotiations with Jacobsen Venue Management (JVM) since August, when it closed off its exclusive dealings with Abigroup Limited.

The chairperson of the council’s Recreation and Events Committee, Councillor Scott Milne, says its decision to proceed to a formal agreement means that the council and JVM will sign a heads of agreement to work together on the detail of a commercial agreement.

“We have done our due diligence and are satisfied that JVM has expertise and considerable experience in running and managing venues like the planned arena.”

The heads of agreement will provide for a six-month exclusive dealings period, during which legal and business issues will be dealt with in confidence and JVM will get on with the arena’s design.

The aim is an agreement to develop the arena as a public/private partnership, with JVM owning and managing the arena including taking on the operational risks.

Subject to the successful negotiation of the detail, the JVM-led consortium will aim to have construction completed by the end of 2005.

Mr Milne says nothing that has happened in the past 12 months has undermined the council’s commitment to building the arena.

“If anything, the council is more confident than ever that Auckland can support an indoor arena that will bring major entertainment and sports events to the region and country.

“The council is equally convinced that an indoor arena is part of the essential infrastructure of a vibrant, attractive and prosperous city.”

He says the council will increase its contribution to the capital cost of the arena from $50 million to $58 million. The balance of the cost of the estimated $68 million base cost of the arena would be contributed by JVM.

The resource consent obtained earlier this year for the Abigroup proposed arena will continue to apply to the arena site at Quay Park provided that the JVM design falls within the parameters of the existing consent.

A poll conducted by Auckland City in October 2003 confirmed that most people believe that the Auckland region needs an indoor arena.

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