Price tag outlined for new Christchurch stadium

Christchurch City Council has spelled out that the city’s proposed new stadium could cost almost NZ$1bn (£515.8m/€584.5m/$651.9m) to develop and operate, but officials are confident that revenues from the facility will largely offset the cost of running it.

The projections were outlined as representatives of the construction industry were presented with the strategy, finance and commercial management work done to date, as local officials seek to formulate an investment case for the project.

The new multi-use roofed stadium is projected for completion by the end of 2023 as the replacement for Lancaster Park, a venue damaged beyond repair by the 2011 earthquake that hit the New Zealand city.

In February 2011, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, killing 185 people and causing widespread damage. Lancaster Park (pictured) had served as the home of Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders and also an international cricket venue, but such was the condition of the venue after the earthquake, inspectors concluded that it could not be restored.

The Stuff.co.nz website said a 25,000 seat, plastic-roofed concept model is currently being tested by consultants EY, with construction expected to begin in late 2020 on a facility that could cost between NZ$460m to NZ$520m to build.

Stuff reported that operating costs for the new venue could be between NZ$350m and NZ$450m over the course of the first 25 years of its lifespan. At the latest project meeting, the city council said it expects revenue from the stadium to “largely offset these costs”.

Stadium project spokeswoman Mary Richardson said it would likely generate “significant revenue directly from running events”, without specifying precise figures. She added: “Work to date suggests that this will be sufficient to cover the operating costs.”

The council has committed NZ$253m to the stadium over several years in its long-term plan, with the Crown poised to contribute a further NZ$220m if the investment case is approved. Richardson said the investment case, which will go to the Crown by July at the earliest after being delayed by March’s terror attacks, will help define the cost estimates and would “identify an option which is within this estimate”.

She added: “We’re making good progress on this work, however the investment case is not a design process and no decisions have yet been made on the arena development. That will happen following the presentation of the investment case to the council and Crown.”

Image: Bernard Spragg