Auckland Waterfront Consortium unveils stadium plans

The Auckland Waterfront Consortium has today (Friday) launched a proposal to build a 50,000-seat, fully enclosed waterfront stadium in the New Zealand city.

The stadium would be built alongside a redeveloped Bledisloe Wharf, with the consortium having promised that the project would cost nothing for ratepayers and taxpayers. The consortium has said the “iconic” stadium could be built within 10 years if plans are adopted.

The self-funded consortium is made up of Auckland-based companies Ernst & Young, Simpson Grierson, Jones Lang Lasalle, ENGEO, Peddle Thorp, Planning Focus, Phil O’Reilly Design, Rider Levett Bucknall, Buildmedia and The Property Strategists, as well as USA-based architecture firm HOK.

The consortium did not disclose the budget for the project but the Newsroom website said the stadium would be built at a cost of NZ$1.8bn (£912m/€1bn/$1.2bn).

Consortium chair Dave Wigmore said: “We are a group of professionals who are deeply invested in our city and who understand the realities of a project of this scale and its regional and national significance.”

The consortium has been working on the proposal for 18 months. The project includes the development of the multi-purpose stadium – previously dubbed The Crater – along with the redevelopment of the wharf as a mixed-use Bledisloe Quarter and the redevelopment of Auckland’s iconic Eden Park stadium for residential use. The stadium can be upsized to a capacity of 65,000 for major events and downsized for smaller events.

“Our proposal is exciting, very ambitious but represents a superb solution for the waterfront and the city as a whole. Importantly, it is financially feasible and achievable,” added Wigmore.

“It is the most advanced waterfront stadium proposal on the table, the only one that delivers a stadium at zero cost to ratepayers and taxpayers and the only proposal that would see a stadium delivered within 10 years.

“Every part of the proposal has been formulated in a way that is intended to protect and enhance the interests of all affected stakeholders. Each of these is part of the fabric that makes up Auckland and we are committed to an approach that makes every part of that fabric stronger.

“We’ve talked to the Mayor’s office, key ministers, local and central government organisations, Ports of Auckland and a range of other stakeholders, and are in the process of engaging with Ngati Whatua. The feedback from stakeholders so far has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Wigmore insists the project is “very doable” from an engineering perspective and would not encroach upon the harbour beyond the northern tip of Bledisloe Wharf.

The development would be entirely funded by the development of commercial and residential precincts on the current Bledisloe Wharf and Eden Park sites, and by avoiding future maintenance costs at Mt Smart Stadium.

The consortium plans on continuing discussions with all stakeholders before undertaking a feasibility study and putting together a proposal to attract a lead investor or developer.

Image: DXR