Auckland Council selects two proposals for ‘national stadium’ effort

Featured image credit: Eden Park

Auckland Council has selected the Eden Park 2.1 and Te Tōangaroa/Quay Park proposals to move forward in the process of delivering a state-of-the-art stadium for the New Zealand city.

Today’s (Friday’s) announcement comes after the recommendation of the Stadium Venues Working Group was presented to Auckland Council’s Governing Body meeting yesterday.  The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried 20 to one by the council’s Governing Body for the Eden Park 2.1 (Eden Park Trust) and Te Tōangaroa/Quay Park (Te Tōangaroa Consortium) options to be assessed against the stadium status quo in the city.

Both bidders have been invited to complete feasibility studies within a six month timeframe, at their own expense. Eden Park Trust’s proposal has been considered the favourite during a process that had originally seen eight applications, before this was reduced to four.

First revealed by the Trust in April 2023 under the Eden Park 2.0 banner, the proposed major redevelopment of New Zealand’s national stadium, placed at a cost of over NZ$500m (£240.8m/€282.7m/$306.2m), includes a retractable roof and new North Stand.

It covers initiatives relating to modernisation, sustainability, connectivity and sustainability at the venue, which plays host to international rugby and cricket as well as major concerts. The most eye-catching proposals are a new retractable roof guaranteeing that events can be held throughout the year, the new North Stand and upgrades to the East and West stands. Enhanced entry promenades and a new pedestrian bridge are also proposed.

The Te Tōangaroa Consortium’s proposal first emerged in February, consisting of a new 55,000-seat stadium in the Quay Park area of Auckland. The stadium would form part of a wider 15-hectare precinct that would also include hotels, bars, restaurants, retail and office space, residential apartments and green spaces. One of the hotels would be themed on New Zealand’s national rugby union team, the All Blacks.

The precinct would be known as Te Tōangaroa. The proposed stadium features an innovative U-shaped design, with the roof drawing inspiration from Maori culture.

The two proposals to be rejected today are Wynyard Point (Auckland Stadium Development Consortium) and Arena Aotearoa/Bledisloe Wharf (Auckland Waterfront Consortium).

Images were released earlier this month of a potential 55,000-seat stadium at the Wynyard Point site. The stadium had been designed by Populous and would have formed part of a wider complex including an indoor arena and an outdoor amphitheatre.

Auckland Waterfront Consortium’s proposal comprised a “sunken” waterfront stadium in the Waitematā Harbour. Last year, it emerged that the Consortium, which first revealed a proposal for a NZ$1.8bn venture back in 2018, was planning a new venue that could seat up to 70,000 people.

The New Zealand Herald today said that these two proposals have been rejected as the council has “consulted on other plans” for those sites.

Councillor Shane Henderson, chair of the Stadium Venues Working Group, said in a statement: “Over the last few months, our Working Group took on the goal of exploring matters relating to Auckland stadium venues, and specifically to create a structured process for the numerous unsolicited proposals the council was receiving to build a ‘national stadium’ in Auckland. The council was clear that this was not a council-initiated or funded project.

“As part of this process, we initiated an expression of interest callout to the open market. Submitters were asked to present options for a national stadium that could be delivered at little to no cost to ratepayers, while providing a vision for a world-class future-proof multi-purpose main stadium that will deliver economic benefits for Aucklanders.

“The four shortlisted options demonstrated innovative ideas and a strong dedication to Tāmaki Makaurau and the unique qualities of Aotearoa, showcasing the calibre and vision needed for a major civic space like this.

“The process so far balances the need to move swiftly so we can provide certainty for the participants in the process, while also ensuring any decisions are informed by strong expert input. We have informed the unsuccessful submitters of this decision and I thank them for their innovative solutions and valuable input into this process.”