The funding agreement for a planned 25,000-seat stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand has been formally signed and companies interested in designing and building the multi-purpose venue have been invited to submit their proposals.

The funding agreement was signed by Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Sports Minister Grant Robertson, and Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods.

The agreement confirms that the Crown will provide NZ$220m (£113m/€124m/$146m) in funding for the project, with Christchurch City Council to provide NZ$253m.

It has also been announced that Richard Peebles, a local property developer, and Steve Reindler, chair of D&H Steel Construction Limited, will serve as directors of the new company set up by the council to oversee the project. Peebles and Reindler will work alongside Murray Strong, who was named chair of the company back in May.

With the signing of the funding agreement, Christchurch City Council is inviting interested parties to submit proposals for designing and building the new stadium, which has tentatively been named the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena.

Mayor Dalziel said: “We now have all the building blocks in place to ensure that we can deliver this project for the people of Canterbury. This will be an arena for Canterbury and will ensure the region can once again host major events, including concerts and national and international sporting events.

“The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena will be a world-class facility that attracts visitors and revenue from around the country and it will cement Christchurch’s reputation as an attractive, vibrant place to live.

“The Investment Case put together by Christchurch City Council shows this project will be a game-changer for the city and we are very proud to be leading its delivery.”

Enabling works have already begun on the city-centre site where the stadium will be built and it is hoped early construction work can commence in 2021. The venue, which would host rugby matches among other events, is scheduled to open at the end of 2024.

The stadium’s capacity would be expandable to 36,000 for concerts with a standing arena. A further 5,000 temporary seats could be added in the future.

Image: Christchurch City Council