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Waterfront spot best for a concert arena: Wellington Mayor

Sites for a new indoor concert arena in Wellington have been narrowed down with the most likely spot at Kings Wharf on the waterfront, says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

A 12,000-seat arena has been identified as crucial if the capital wants to attract large-scale national and international acts.

Five potential sites were put forward to Tuesday’s Greater Wellington Regional Strategy Committee meeting, including three on CentrePort land.

“The Kings Wharf option has been identified as clearly the best location,” the Mayor says.

The project has in-principle support from the region’s mayors, he says.

“The market is there in Wellington but we don’t have the offering. The Gemba report earlier this year told us that.”

The report from the sport and entertainment agency, released in April, looked at the constraints of the 6000-seat TSB Arena. It also examined trends in arena development, the competitive landscape and the health of the live entertainment and large event industry.
It estimated the larger events a 12,000-seat indoor arena could attract could be worth about $26 million in GDP to the region per year.

“Bigger acts could make New Zealand a destination by performing at bigger venues in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, rather than tacking us on to the end of an Australian tour,” the Mayor says.

“The arena could be the catalyst for a raft of new development in the area, with a mixture of commercial, retail and residential, both private and affordable.

“The precinct development would be required to off-set the costs of a new arena.

“The next step will be working with our partners on the land and looking at the precinct development options.

“The design concept that we saw today in the presentation look great and we are excited about this opportunity.”

The planning work would be done in parallel with CentrePort’s work on a potential new multi-use ferry terminal.

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