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Auckland’s Largest Capital Project Milestone

Auckland’s Largest Capital Project Reaches Construction Milestone This Week

The largest commercial capital project currently underway in central Auckland City will reach a construction milestone this Friday (31 October 2003) when the roof is completed on the new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre.

Situated opposite SKYCITY Auckland, on Federal Street, the $135 million development will comprise five floors for the new convention centre (scheduled to open in April 2004) and another 15 levels will be added above that, to become the new SKYCITY Grand Hotel (scheduled to open in 2005).

SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre will provide the largest multi-functional convention facility in central Auckland City with capacity for up to 1500 delegates. It will incorporate car parking, retail space and over 5,000 square metres dedicated to conferences, exhibitions and banquets including a 1,300 square metre banquet room and a variety of separate break-out rooms.

The $75 million five-star SKYCITY Grand Hotel will provide 316 rooms of luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city, featuring a full range of guest services, fine dining, private club lounge and a luxury health and beauty spa.

SKYCITY General Manager, Capital Projects, Bryce Morrin, says that this project has been a major undertaking for SKYCITY with a range of local benefits including the use of local building contractors, consultants and furniture manufacturers.

“As the city’s largest commercial project currently under construction, when the roof goes on tomorrow, it will be cause to celebrate,” says Mr Morrin.

“It will mean that most of the building will be weather-proof so we can start the internal fit-out and furnishings. It also means the shape of the building (width, height and inside spaces), will be visible.”

Mr Morrin adds that the new convention centre and hotel will be linked to SKYCITY’s main site by two air bridges.

“It will mean the existing SKYCITY Hotel can work in unison with the new SKYCITY Grand Hotel to provide nearly 700 rooms of accommodation on the one site – both linked to the city’s largest and newest conference and convention facilities,” says Mr Morrin.

Project Manager, Fletcher Construction, Alan Gray, says this job is very challenging but at the same time, rewarding.

“We’ve got around 250 men on the job at the moment working on rotating shifts, six to seven days a week and we’ve been here since last October (2002),” says Mr Gray.

“This is a very unique project in comparison to many other construction jobs I’ve worked on due to the height of the rooms and complexity of the building. It’s probably the greatest challenge for me since Te Papa museum in Wellington,” he says.

According to SKYCITY’s General Manager Sales, Kerry Rice, the new conference centre and hotel will provide international standard facilities for large-scale indoor functions previously lacking in Auckland City.

“Up until now, large events in Auckland City have been logistically difficult to organise – Auckland hasn’t had a dedicated banqueting venue to host functions of more than 600 people.

“Major events such as APEC, the America’s Cup and TRENZ have found it difficult to find suitable venues so the creation of this new facility – which is also ideal for live telecasts – will be great for Auckland City,” he says.

Mr Rice adds that research indicates an expected increase in visitation to Auckland as a direct result of the development.

“The response from the international convention market is very pleasing and confirms our findings that there is a real need for a convention facility with this capability. It will significantly increase Auckland’s potential to compete internationally for large scale conference business,” he says.

The new SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre and SKYCITY Grand Hotel developments are part of a major SKYCITY Auckland expansion project which also includes extensions to the main gaming floor, the development of a new gaming floor and bar (currently under construction and due to open in December 2003) and improvements to Sky Tower facilities including the addition of a new retail store which opened at the base of Sky Tower in July 2003.

SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre will open progressively from early 2004 while construction of SKYCITY Grand Hotel continues, minimising disruption to guests and maximising opportunities for use of completed areas.

Last week one of the two over-bridges (the public bridge) linking the new convention centre and hotel to SKYCITY Auckland spanning Federal Street was erected. The second over-bridge (service bridge) is soon to be installed.

SKYCITY Convention Centre is scheduled to open to the public in April 2004.

Additional facts:

Convention centre complex includes: Two levels totalling more than 5000m2 dedicated to conferencing, exhibition and banqueting space. Large column free spaces and high rooms. Leading NZ artwork throughout the complex. A 1300m2 main room capable of seating up to 1500 delegates theatre style or 1200 for a banquet. A second main room with 1040m2 of conference/exhibition space. Two 670m2 foyers. Nine breakout rooms. Two boardrooms, two business offices, and business centre facilities. All construction costs were spent locally including consultants. Nearly all the furniture has been manufactured locally.

SKYCITY Grand Hotel includes: 15 levels of contemporary elegance and facilities (20 levels above Albert St) including: Two restaurants- a premium restaurant on Level 3 and Breakfast restaurant on Level 7. Club lounge. Stylish bar. Lap pool, gym, sauna, clubroom etc located on Level 7. Foyer located on level 3 off Federal St. 24 hour service by dedicated staff. Qualmark 5-star rating. 316 rooms including some suites located over 13 floors. CBD doorstep location. Full range of guest services including luxury spa. Latest IT connectivity and technology. Leading New Zealand artwork throughout the complex.

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