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Waterfront stadium is government preference

Waterfront stadium is government preference

Minister for the Rugby World Cup Trevor Mallard today announced that following a review of stadium options for Auckland the government has a strong preference for a national stadium on Auckland’s CBD waterfront.

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Video.ALSO Video: Here is an animation video of the proposed stadium courtesy of Warren and Mahoney architects. See... Video: Animation Of Proposed Waterfront Stadium

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"The government has decided that a waterfront location is the option that can most meaningfully contribute to the Government’s vision for Auckland as a truly world-class, international city," Trevor Mallard said.

"This has been a finely balanced call with little difference between the two options in terms of cost and construction timelines. Advice from the experts shows that both can be delivered on time.

"In making its decision, the government believes that a sports stadium has the ability to contribute to the identity of Auckland and New Zealand. A national stadium will be as much a focal point of Auckland’s landscape as Rangitoto or the Sky Tower.

"It is important that Auckland, with full government support, seizes the opportunity to capture the enduring social and economic benefits of a world-class facility.

"While either stadium would be able to host a great event, we believe the waterfront stadium strongly supports the vision for Auckland to become a world-class city that can help drive New Zealand's economic growth.

"It offers the best opportunity for New Zealand to showcase itself to the world during Rugby World Cup 2011 and to attract other major sporting, entertainment and spectator events to New Zealand.

"It represents the best stadium investment through its good connections to transport hubs, hospitality facilities, hotels, parking and the CBD, and has the potential to significantly improve access for cruise ships. We also believe the construction of an iconic facility such as this will help drive Auckland's aspirations for the development of the waterfront and CBD.

"For all these reasons, a waterfront stadium will also be capable of generating revenue from a greater variety of sources."

Feasibility of construction to meet key deadlines was a key issue that ministers considered.

"We have had advice from Australasia’s leading stadium designers, engineers, architects and construction experts. There is a unanimous view that the waterfront stadium is a challenge, but eminently achievable."

"However, the government does want to ensure that Auckland supports our view and buys into this proposal. In order to do this I will be asking for comment from the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council on the two principal options – the Waterfront and Eden Park – by 24 November or earlier. Detailed briefings by the stadium review team will be available.

The cost of the waterfront option, including the building of the required platform across Captain Cook and Marsden Wharves, is $497 million. The cost of the original Eden Park option was $320 million and their latest proposal of a full wrap-around design is $385 million, based only on concept designs at this stage.

In terms of funding, the government is willing to commit half the funding required for the national stadium, after other national or central government funds, trust funding and private funding such as naming and sponsorship rights have been deducted.

The Crown contribution for an upgrade of Eden Park will be determined in light of its regional rather than national stadium status.

The government will also develop funding mechanisms that will enable local and regional councils to raise revenue, without recourse to rates, to support the development of infrastructure and public facilities to supplement their contribution to the development of either stadium option.

Trevor Mallard said that the review team had also identified Eden Park as viable but noted that Eden Park faced comparable challenges which needed to be worked through.

"One of the greatest concerns is that its application for consents has unacceptable uncertainty as to the timing and outcome of the consents within the construction time available. There is also risk around the lack of flexibility in a residential area around construction times, should delays or problems with construction arise."

"The review team had been greatly assisted by Fletcher Construction in assessing the risks around construction completion for both sites.

"Fletchers have said that both Eden Park and the Waterfront have tight construction timelines and in order to achieve them a dedicated project team will be needed."

Trevor Mallard said that because of the timing risks, it was also prudent to pass special legislation to provide the consents required to build either option. This would still include a public submission and select committee process.

"Securing the agreement with Ports of Auckland is essential for a waterfront stadium, and while we are consulting with their owner, the Auckland Regional Council, we must ensure that issues around port operations are resolved to their satisfaction, including supporting legislation if necessary."

Background information follows.


Fact Sheet - Stadia evaluation

Who reviewed the stadium options?

The review of options was undertaken by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Treasury with technical assistance from a range of experts including:

HOK (an international stadium design company who have been involved with the MCG redevelopment, and the Melbourne Telstra Dome.)

Fletchers Construction (New Zealand’s leading construction company)

Warren & Mahoney (architects to the Wellington Westpac Stadium)

Romulus Consulting Group (Engineers who have worked on a range of major projects including the Wellington Westpac Stadium)

Rider Hunt quantity surveyors

What options were assessed?

The time frame in which the review was carried out meant that full consideration could not be given to every option identified in the course of the inquiry. However, options which were given consideration included:

Eden Park (various options)

CBD waterfront (various options)

North Harbour Stadium

Manukau Harbour (adjoining Westfield station)

The former Carlaw Park

Mt Smart Stadium

Avondale Racecourse

The Auckland Domain; and

Jade Stadium

What criteria were used to assess these options?

Required RMA consents;

Effects on neighbours;

Accessibility to public and other transport options;

Accessibility to hotels, restaurants and other amenities;

Design features;

Capability for frequent and multiple use;

Technical constraints;

Governance and management options;

Cost to build;

Funding options;

Revenue generation potential;

Overall economic impact.

Who was consulted?

In the event that a preferred venue is confirmed, it is anticipated that additional consultation will be carried out with a range of interested parties. However, in the time available, the review team met with:

Eden Park Redevelopment Committee;

Ports of Auckland Ltd

Auckland Regional Council

Auckland City Council

Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd

Hearts of Auckland City

North Shore Stadium Trust

Bossley Copeland Architects

Can a waterfront stadium be built in time?

The feasibility study of the Stadium involved extensive input from leading technical advisers, including leading New Zealand construction company - Fletchers Construction. While there are challenges with any major project, the expert advice is that, provided funding, consents and agreement with Ports of Auckland Ltd are in place by May 2007, the project can be completed by December 2010. This leaves ample time for hosting events prior to RWC finals.

What review was carried out of the port operations and by whom?

A team of port experts lead by former Chief Executive of Centre Port, Ken Harris, has had extensive discussions with the Port of Auckland management about possible locations within the Port Precinct, and the operational impacts of various locations. Although no formal deal has been proposed, the team considers that with Ports of Auckland agreement there are ways in which a stadium could be located in the port without materially affecting its viability and profitability.

What are the construction time-lines for each option?

Eden Park

Demolition of Panasonic Stand by January 07;

Completing design work by June 07;

Obtaining consents by June 07;

Development designs by June 07

Fixed pricing by June 07;

Commencing demolition of the East and West Stands by September 07;

Commencing construction of the main stadium by December 07

Waterfront

Obtaining consents by April 07;

Securing agreement (including pricing) to access the port area to be occupied by the stadium by April 07;

Commencing construction of the platform by May 07

Completing development designs by August 07;

Fixed pricing by August 07;

Completing 50% of the platform construction by December 07;

Commencing construction of the stadium by December 07

Can a waterfront stadium be built for the estimated $377M?

The costs are not only consistent with international industry standards for stadium construction (which is approx. $6,000/seat), but have been reviewed by quantity surveyors Rider Hunt who also undertook quantity surveying for the Eden Park redevelopment.

As with all the other options, including Eden Park, there are additional costs to consider. The primary ones for the waterfront are the construction of a platform to support sections, or all, of the stadium, and acquisition of the land area the stadium will occupy. The former has been quantity surveyed by Rider Hunt as costing up to $120M (depending on how much platform is required). The latter will be subject to discussions with Ports of Auckland Ltd and Auckland Regional Council as 100% shareholder of the Port.

How will a waterfront stadium affect views?

Any large structure will obviously have visual effects. However the preliminary designs have mitigated any negative impacts in a number of ways including:

At 37m, (about ten stories high) it is significantly lower than other stadia which have been discussed (e.g. the Allianz in Munich is 50m high);

Floodlights will sit under the roof line;

The external cladding will be a translucent material to maximise the flow of light; and

The outer concourse of the stadium will be publicly accessible – ensuring a level of access to the waterfront that is not presently possible on the waterfront.

What will be the design of the waterfront stadium?

The design published today is only a concept plan. However, whatever design is finalised, if Auckland supports a national stadium the Government will to ensure that it has the aesthetic qualities befitting a national stadium on the waterfront. Leading architects and stadium designers will work on the project to ensure that the final design is one that New Zealand can be proud of.

How will either stadium option be funded?

It is not the Government’s intention to create a situation that leads to additional ratepayer burden for Auckland. While funding mechanisms have still to be finalised, there are a number of options being considered. It is anticipated that either stadium will receive funding from a variety of sources including grants, city and/or regional contributions, sponsorship and corporate sales. Funding models have been prepared that indicate it will be feasible to construct either stadium in a manner that does not leave it with levels of debt that cannot be serviced.

Who will own the stadium?

If Eden Park continues to be supported, there would need to be significant changes to the Eden Park Trust Act to reflect the changes in the equity that will be held in the Park.

If a national stadium is supported, the Government intends to establish a new trust reflecting the interests of both the Auckland region and New Zealand.

What options for Eden Park were considered?

A number of options have been reviewed.

The original Eden Park option contemplated elevated temporary stands which were considered to be well short of the standards expected for RWC 2011.

The two main options considered cost either $320M or $385M. These costs are for redeveloping the stadium only, and do not include the cost of upgrading the footbridge and associated facilities at Kingsland Station, and any compensation required to relocate Auckland Cricket.

The initial, “legacy” option put forward by the Eden Park Redevelopment Committee was a $320M option which consisted of major redevelopment of the South Stand, and associated changes.

In recent days, the Committee have proposed a more substantive option comprising a full, wrap-around stadium design. This design will substantially mitigate the major concerns with the Eden Park redevelopment – shading, light spill and noise spill. The cost of this development, based only on concept designs, is $385M.

What about other options for stadium sites?

Approximately 10 other locations were assessed which included site visits and meetings with proponents of the other options. In some cases these discussions were extensive. However, within the time available it was not possible to carry out an exhaustive assessment of all.

However, all options were assessed against the same criteria which included: likely cost; sources of funding; potential for profitability; access to public transport, hotels, restaurants and other amenities; planning and RMA issues; technical issues and governance arrangements. Through this process a number of “showstopper” issues arose for some locations; e.g. where the location was in private ownership and designated for other development.

ENDS

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