Plans revealed for 25,000-seat Christchurch stadium

Christchurch City Council will later this week consider an investment case for a new 25,000-seat multi-purpose stadium in the New Zealand city.

The stadium would serve as one of the anchor projects included in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and would be built in the city centre. The case for the project states that the venue must feature a roof so it can host year-round events, seat at least 25,000 people (with the potential to add temporary seating for a further 5,000), have a fixed rectangular turf and offer high quality acoustics.

Christchurch City Council said today (Monday) that these specifications mean that the stadium would cost NZ$472.7m (£235.4m/€280m/$309.8m) to build. The council, which will consider the investment case on Thursday, has pledged to provide NZ$253m in its 2018-28 Long Term Plan as a contribution towards the construction costs.

The land on which the stadium would be built is owned by the Crown, which has said it would contribute NZ$220m towards the project, although it is waiting on the investment case before confirming the funding.

Net operating costs for the stadium, including lifestyle costs, are anticipated to be NZ$4.2m a year and the council has allocated NZ$4.1m a year within its Long Term Plan to cover these costs. The council would deliver the project once a funding agreement has been reached with the Crown, before appointing a project board who would then appoint a delivery team to pull together consortia of contractors to build the stadium.

Alistair Pearson, manager of Christchurch City Council’s major facilities vertical capital delivery, said: “The investment case shows there is a strong strategic case for building a multi-use arena.

“Without an arena Christchurch cannot host big concerts or top-level sporting events. These events attract visitors and revenue to the city and are important for economic development. They also add to residents’ quality of life and make Christchurch an attractive, vibrant place to live.

“At the moment we are not capturing our share of economic benefit from cultural and sporting events. A new arena will provide an anchor and catalyst for CBD recovery and revitalisation and provide a focal point and an attraction for local and international visitors.

“Modelling undertaken for the investment case conservatively estimates that stays in Christchurch will increase by nearly 100,000 bed-nights per annum because of the domestic and international tourism driven by the new arena.”

If the investment case is accepted on Thursday, the case will be submitted to the Crown for approval. It is hoped that work can begin on the project in the second quarter of 2020, with a tentative opening date set for 2024. Council-owned entity Vbase is the proposed operator of the stadium.

Image: Christchurch City Council