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Waterfront Stadium not viable, says Eden Park

MEDIA RELEASE
3 November 2006


Waterfront Stadium not viable, says Eden Park

Eden Park’s Rob Fisher says a waterfront stadium is an expensive and high-risk proposition that cannot be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup.

“As well as being extraordinarily costly and unachievable in the timeframe, a waterfront option presents significant feasibility issues including transportation and access, consenting and sustainability.”

“Eden Park offers the most attractive and most achievable solution for New Zealand’s hosting of Rugby World Cup 2011. It will provide New Zealand with the legacy of a multi-functional, world-class stadium at reasonable cost – and we can get it done on time.”

“Locating a large scale sports stadium in prime waterfront space poses major urban design issues and represents a significant opportunity cost to Auckland and New Zealand. The pros and cons are yet to be fully debated and understood by the community.”

“While we are confident that Eden Park will meet the IRB’s requirements, can be built in time for the Cup and will deliver a lasting legacy for Auckland and New Zealand, there are severe doubts over the feasibility and wisdom of a waterfront option.”

“It is crucially important that the evaluation of potential sites to host the Rugby World Cup 2011 is robust and takes into account the best technical advice possible.”

Mr Fisher released a report prepared for Eden Park by quantity surveyors WT Partnership, which said a 60,000-seat waterfront stadium would cost between $612 million and $767 million, excluding land and relocation costs of up to $150 million.

“Our advisers believe that total costs for the waterfront will be more than double that for Eden Park. You’ve also got to factor in substantial additional costs to develop infrastructure such as Britomart and Quay Street, as well as sewerage, stormwater and drainage systems, to meet the demands of a 60,000 seat stadium. It looks like an open chequebook.”

Mr Fisher said a waterfront stadium would not provide any additional economic benefit for Auckland or New Zealand, compared to Eden Park.

A report by Eden Park’s economic consultants, Horwath Asia Pacific, says a waterfront stadium would not increase the estimated $240 million boost to the Auckland economy from the Rugby World Cup, and was "highly unlikely" to produce greater long-term economic benefits than a redeveloped Eden Park.

“The numbers just don’t stack up. Eden Park can achieve the same economic benefits for far less investment – and our business case, developed in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers, demonstrates that we can continue to operate sustainably after the Rugby World Cup, without any need for ongoing ratepayer subsidisation.”

A waterfront stadium would also require a fast-track design process and a special Act of Parliament to rush through consent.

Mr Fisher says marine environment developments are usually contentious. The plan to build a Hilton Hotel on Wellington’s waterfront, for instance, has had 14 years of consultation and remains under appeal.

Mr Fisher said Eden Park’s proposed redevelopment was based on international-best practice in stadia design, reduced the impact of the stadium on adjoining properties, would generate significant community and public transport benefits, offered value for money and was achievable under the timeframe.

Eden Park’s project programme has been reviewed and endorsed by two of New Zealand’s leading construction companies and includes a realistic allowance for all pre-construction tasks and an Environment Court Hearing and appeal to the High Court.

The programme also confirms that the redevelopment of Eden Park into a world-class stadium can be achieved by the end of 2010 to allow a bedding-in period before hosting the RWC 2011, as requested by the IRB.

“We have 187 weeks till the Rugby World Cup kicks off and the clock is ticking,” Mr Fisher says.

The team advising Eden Park on its redevelopment plans since late 2005 includes leading global operators along with New Zealand firms with recent, significant experience in stadia development and the Auckland and New Zealand urban environment and legislative framework.

ends

For more information please contact:
Carley Smith
Eden Park Trust Board Communications
Phone 0272 576 518

Catherine Etheredge
Eden Park Trust Board Communications
Phone 027 276 9712

Note to Editors:

High-risk and unresolved issues associated with a waterfront site are:
 Legislation to be required prior to works commencing on the site and prior to replacement of Port facilities.
 Whether the project can be completed in time for RWC 2011.
 Cost - the true cost is likely to exceed $1 billion when all land acquisition, enabling works, acceleration, and mitigation costs are included.
 The waterfront development will lock up approximately 7ha of prime Auckland waterfront and prevent the planned future public access of the wharf area.
 The new development has no governance, management, tenants, service providers or business track record.

Eden Park’s consultants include:
 multi-disciplinary engineering consulting practice BECA who worked on the Fergusson terminal expansion and reclamation, and the Wellington Stadium;
 Jasmax, New Zealand’s largest architectural practice with a strong history in designing public buildings including Te Papa, Auckland City hospital and Britomart;
 world-leading sports architects HOK Sport who designed Telstra, Emirates, Millennium and Westpac stadia and were responsible for the redevelopment of Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane, Melbourne Cricket Ground and Melbourne’s Telstra Dome.
 international transportation specialists Parsons Brinckerhoff;
 quantity surveyors WT Partnership;
 project management experts Resource Coordination Partnership; and
 planning and resource management consultancy Hill Young Cooper.


Ends


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