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Strong Enquiry On Arena Proposal

Auckland City Council

About 24 organisations have so far responded to Auckland City Council’s call for expressions of interest (EOI) for the development of an arena at Quay Park.

The organisations are either looking to be part of a consortium or are putting together a team to submit a proposal, says the chairperson of the Council’s City Attractions Committee, Cr Victoria Carter. They include prospective bankers, building contractors, developers and venue managers.

Eight of the enquiries have come from overseas.

Auckland City Council is calling for private sector leadership of the development and ongoing management of a 10,000 – 14,000 seat indoor arena for its leasehold 5ha Quay Park site on the edge of the central city.

The arena would host major sports and entertainment events – basketball, netball, concerts and ice sports - which promoters say New Zealand is now missing out on because it does not have a large enough indoor venue.

At the same time it is gauging the public’s support for the proposal, through an information and consultation process. More than 250 responses had been received from the public by the end of the first week of the process. Most of them supported the concept of an arena.

As part of the consultation, an information ‘open house’ will be held this Saturday (November 6) on the Quay Park site between 10am and 3pm. The public consultation closes on November 26 while the call for expressions of interest closes on December 10.

Cr Carter, says no decision has been made to proceed with the arena. "The dual process we have embarked on is designed to test both the event industry’s and the public’s commitment to such a venue.

"The EOI process will determine the level of investment support for the concept from the private sector, while the public information and consultation process will gauge the public’s support and seek information about what issues the Council should take into account if the planning progresses.

"Council’s role, if it decides to proceed with the project, will be to facilitate the development of a financially viable indoor arena on Quay Park, while negating or minimising the cost to Auckland City ratepayers."

The investigation follows an evaluation by the Hillary Commission in 1998 of three possible arena sites in the Auckland Region. That evaluation, requested by the Auckland Regional Council to avoid duplication of facilities in the region, looked at the Ericsson Stadium at Mt Smart (proposed by the Regional Council), the Manukau stadium site (proposed by Manukau City Council) and the Quay Park site (proposed by the Auckland City Council).

"The Hillary Commission’s recommendation was that Quay Park, in downtown Auckland, is the preferred site because if its accessibility and its proximity to public transport, accommodation and downtown facilities," Cr Carter says.

"According to overseas experience, the site meets all the criteria for a successful arena position."

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