Consortium of Auckland businesses pushes for the opportunity to manage the development of a waterfront stadium & redevelopment of Eden Park

Stadium image provided by the Auckland Waterfront Consortium.

The consortium behind the latest Auckland waterfront stadium proposal says their plan comes at "zero cost" to ratepayers and taxpayers, but they're yet to talk to potential developers or financiers.

The Auckland Waterfront Consortium, featuring an array of companies, would not build the stadium themselves. Rather the group has devised a concept and wants to find a key developer and a key financier to present to Auckland Council.

The Consortium wants to facilitate the project and manage the transaction, and get paid for bringing the deal to the Council, as well as receive professional services fees once a developer is in place.

They say the stadium would be paid for by the allocation of development rights on the publicly owned land around Bledisloe Wharf and Eden Park. The idea is both sites would remain in public ownership, leased out over 120 years as the Wynyard Quarter is.

The cost of the stadium is estimated at between $2 billion and $3 billion, about a third of the overall project cost, which would make it New Zealand's biggest ever infrastructure project.

A 50,000 seat stadium with a roof could be upsized for major events to 65,000, or downsized for smaller events, the Consortium says. The stadium would be sunk into the seabed alongside Bledisloe Wharf, with about four hectares including the stadium redeveloped. Eden Park would be developed for residential and potentially community use.

The proposed development would require the Ports of Auckland's car importing operations being shifted from Bledisloe Wharf. The Consortium suggests a new Bledisloe Quarter could feature about 2,500 dwellings, with commercial areas accommodating about 6,000 staff.

Dave Wigmore, chairman of the Auckland Waterfront Consortium, says the project will require leadership, vision and support from Auckland Council and the Government. Wigmore, who is also managing director of The Property Strategists Ltd, says Auckland could have an "iconic" waterfront stadium within a decade.

The Consortium, which has been working on the proposal for 18 months, plans to continue talks with a range of stakeholders including Ngati Whatua, before undertaking a feasibility study and putting a proposal together designed to attract a lead developer and investor.

"We believe there is a strong public sentiment in favour of a waterfront stadium for Auckland if it is affordable and doable. Our proposal delivers that," says Wigmore.

The concept of an Auckland Waterfront Stadium was first floated about 10 years ago ahead of New Zealand hosting the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Ultimately Eden Park was redeveloped, with taxpayer funding, at a cost of about $190 million.

Consortium Members
 ENGEO Limited – Engineering.
 Jones Lang Lasalle – Real estate feasibility and business case.
 Ernst & Young – Economic impact and business case.
 Simpson Grierson – Legal.
 Peddle Thorp – NZ-based architecture, master planning. (Peddle Thorp has a subcontract arrangement with HOK, international stadium architects based in the USA). 
 Planning Focus – Resource management.
 Phil O’Reilly Design Limited – Initial concept and creative consultant.
 Rider Levett Bucknall Limited – Construction costs and project planning.
 The Property Strategists – Real estate feasibility.
 Buildmedia – architectural 3D visualisation imagery.

Here's the press release & a factsheet provided by the Auckland Waterfront Consortium.

Below are images provided by the Auckland Waterfront Consortium of what the stadium could look like, and where it would be.

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44 Comments

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Is that the best use of that land? Stadiums are kinda dead zones during the day.

Like it. The wharf and Eden Park must be worth a lot. Surly the start of exiting the port elsewhere.

A lot of moving parts including Council, Govt, Akl Rugby and Iwi. Can they all hold hands, history suggests not.

Its a shame that I don't like watching rugby any more.

It’s good news for Auckland - which seems to be on a bit of a roller at present.

TTP

I think that it is about a lot more than just rugby. Look at the Dunedin stadium.

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11

That's what they say about every stadium before it's built.

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15

10/1 this proposal involves the Consortium getting its hands on, and developing and selling, Eden Park before any work gets done Downtown. Lots of scope for time and budget blow-outs to affect what finally happens elsewhere after that....if indeed, anything does!

Good point, otherwise there needs to be a container ship load of development funding from somewhere else to do the stadium as the first step. Any hearing the echo of a request for "govt guarantee".....

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12

Rubbish. They claim they are not going to lean on taxpayers - if so why don't they just get on and build it somewhere. What's the need for the current marketing job.
This millstone is not only going to cost our pockets - it's going to bugger up some of our natural assets. Like one of the worlds great harbours. And more.

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17

I still don't get the waterfront concept when the view from the seats is inwards. Despite that probably better looking than a carpark but I believe there are better options for the waterfront.

How ill you pay for it? easy go to the bank and they will create a security.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC0G7pY4wRE&t=1s

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13

Questions...

When its half built and blowouts to the budget happen who will have to front up with some $$$?

$3 Billion just for the Stadium, how on earth is that going to pay for itself???

Being just a Rugby/League venue. recent History says that the Blues and the Warriors mostly have been poor, and when they are they get less that 5000 supporters to a game. Wont 5000 people in a 55000 seat stadium look worse than 5000 in a 45000 seat stadium?

I cant really understand the economics of this proposal, but good luck to them.

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10

They've entrusted one of the big-4 accounting firms to weigh in the costs and benefits of this colossal project. How could anything go wrong?
Typically when the words "trust" and "big-4" appear in the same sentence, it has something to do with tax planning.

$3 Billion - say $300 Million per year to cover interest on investment and maintenance which is $1 million per day. There would be very few attractions that could fill it. Is it fair on Taylor Swift and Tonga rugby league to ask them to perform every other day?

Remember the squeals over a $3 billion rail loop which would be used by millions

Now, today as less and less people are playing rugby or league, up pops a proposal for a $3 bn stadium on prized waterfront land for the occasional use of the few

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12

Another scam to soak the council and ratepayers?

If they want it they can pay for it with their rates. There's a reason why it's meant to be funded by land taxes, it increases the value of peoples land, and the imputed rents.

I guess a big new casino would be worse. Productivity is so last century.

Costs aside..
I'm all for it, a sunken stadium, a low-level roof, throw in some Maori motifs into the design, call it the meeting house, It could be our colloseum for the ages.
Imagine, it's 2030, your favourite band/sport team is playing, you don't mind the cheap seats at the top because you can see the sun setting behind the bridge and the moon rising behind Rangitoto. You may catch the ferry home from the wharf outside or head off nearby to the new bars/restaurants. Good Times!

"Costs aside.."
Like the running costs of an electricty bill to pump water back up to sea level, for a hundred years, 365 days a year. Will need to sell a of tickets, often, to make that financially viable.

A CB fringe stadium, yes.
A waterfront stadium. That's a poor use of prime real estate, but it is at least CBD fringe.
A sunken waterfront stadium. That's just smoke and mirrors artist impression to soften up the public to the thought of a massive edifice on the waterfront. Reality will be 4 or 5 stories higher.

The Japanese can can build an 50km+ rail line under the ocean but we can't engineer a stadium without it leaking?
www.unmissablejapan.com/underground/seikan-tunnel

Second point, our prime Real Estate is currently a giant second hand car yard/container storage/tank farm.

I'll reserve my judgement on the design until I see something closer to the final design, but obviously the biggest hurdles are around the financial viability of it.

Of course they have to pump water out of their under-ocean rail way. Unless gravity doesn't apply in Japan.

It's not a binary choice between a second hand car yard/container storage and a stadium.

If the entire port eventually moves to Firth of Thames - then somewhere in that swathe of port land would be suitable for a stadium, but not on one of the finger wharves, and not sunk into the sea.

Collosseum indeed. I understand the bread and circuses part to distract the populace from the general state of societal decay, but based on our current building standards, there's no way this structure will last 100 years, let alone 2,000+yrs. However, when our rates are double present values and our relentless immigration levels lead to gridlock, I guess that escapism will be the order of the day. I just hope our PC brigade don't ban alcohol by the time this marvel opens for business...

I'm not sure why this tests the minds of some, Eden park is a has been. It is almost useless for most events with inadequate transport links, limited access, little parking, curfews and noise restrictions up the wazoo and no supporting entertainment precinct. Simply a relic of the olden days only supported by those of the same ilk. To my mind it was criminal this was not done for the 2011 world cup when government funding was at least some offset, but the council of the time suffered from simple bureaucratic inertia and was swayed by the usual fuddy duddy suspects.

At the waterfront, train bus and ferry terminals are just right there, all the motorways funnel straight into there, all the car parking buildings are virtually empty after 5:30pm right there, no noise issues, no curfew, lots of options to arrive early and leave late. If built correctly sport is not the only option, concerts, athletics, stadium trucks and bikes, whatever. Check out Forsyth Barr stadium, not much said by the naysayers to that nowadays. It's already an industrial area, it can only improve like the Wellington waterfront did.

I say toss Eden park off to the development sharks before the crash devalues it and let them build blocks the height of the current stands, can't be any worse, right?, use the funds to build the stadium that should already be there. Let the has beens cry.

Exactly, Eden Park will always be hamstrung by the nimbyism of its suburban location and lack of large scale readily available transportation to/from the park.

I am from Canterbury and I like & appreciate Auckland (apart from the airport) & for our only real city on an international scale this just has to be a venture that is both necessary and beneficial. Don’t know enough about the local politics and environment issues but something like this had to be done somewhere, somehow and if it dovetails with & enhances the development of the yachting harbour then well and good. Appreciate most of those outside of Auckland will disagree but there is a lot of reality in saying what is good for Auckland is good for NZ.

Contrary to what you say, the Dunedin Stadium continues to eat its head off and is only made to look as though it is viable and successful by the Council diverting funds to it from a variety of sources, including the wholly owned subsidiary Aurora which is now in a perilous financial situation with power poles failing all over the city. The Otago Daily Times, which has been a huge supporter of the Stadium since its inception, is implicit in this as it refuses to investigate any of the true costs or the Council’s smoke and mirror cover up of them. Yes, we have had a few big concerts down here and the hospitality sector benefited from them at the time (without having to donate anything towards the costs) but only a fool would think these were sufficient to pay for the set up and the ongoing operational costs. Meanwhile DCC borrowing has skyrocketed and costs have increased across the board for everything you can think of. Beware Auckland ratepayers - we too were told that it wouldn’t cost us a thing when it was first mooted.

Exactly what Auckland wants,another place for drunks,thieves and general disorderly thugs to hang around.
Will the stadium be able to hold a running track,eg Commonwealth games? If not it's just a white elephant,have a look at the Waikato Stadium and it's use outside Rugby.Practically Non exsistant.

I am tempted to suggest that there must be a very good profit in this proposal for the promoters, so why wouldn't the council do it it'self. Realistically however their incompetence would turn any profit into a monumental loss.
One thing that I am firm on, however; if the council accepts this proposal, then it must be on the basis that the risk and the reward rests solely with the promoters and if they fail, all assets vest to the council.

Can a better use be put to Ports of Auckland land than parking imported cars, stacking containers and storing fuel. Probably. There are lots of examples of old central city ports being redeveloped from industrial to commercial/residential uses.

Should Eden Park be replaced with a stadium that can be used more frequently. Probably.

Would downtown Auckland by the harbour make a good location for a stadium. Maybe depends on design. Lots of positives -good location wrt transport links and connection to hospitality amenities. If badly designed could be an eyesore and be a deadzone rather than attractor. .

For me the issue is what is the long term port strategy for NZ. We are a trading nation and our ports are one of our key infrastructures that underpin this trade.

I am quite attracted to some of the aspects of this proposal. It seems to me it provide lots of benefits for more housing and commercial activity in a location where these are in demand but difficult to supply. It could also ease some congestion issues for downtown Auckland as there could be less heavy trucks needing to access the port.

But all of this is bread and circuses if there is no clear Ports of NZ solution.

For me this about whether Northport or Port of Tauranga steps up. The options closer to Auckland all seem flawed. Northport and Port of Tauranga are the closest deep water port to Auckland that can conceivable take the bigger container ships that are chasing economies of scale. This decision will affect the logistics of freight in NZ for decades if not centuries to come.

Instead dam Mangere Inlet at Onehunga and build stadium at Westfield with easy access to trains from both direction plus two motorways, lotsa parking and even train parking while the venue is in use. Quick access to airport and its increasing accommodation. No disruption of Eden Park while building and even a motorway link built on cheaper reclaimed land. Narrow access at Onehunga also means low environmental impact plus future access to additional reclaimed land for residential or commercial purposes over time.
No brainer

It would be good to have a first class venue to watch bankers being thrown to the lions.

I like it. But only if they bowl Eden Park and build thousands of affordable apartments there

It would be awesome if they were Housing NZ apartments, it would be a nice bit of Karma for those Eden park residents that have been such killjoys over the past couple of decades

this comment sums it up for me
"Sorry to pour water on the fire, but seriously, I think these guys are dreamers. Get real. Build it on the land for a third the price."
plenty of places it could be built cheaper and more user friendly, why are people so obsessed with having it on the waterfront

Can you feel that funny thing in your pocket ratepayers? Its a developers hand! The Waikato Stadium was supposed to be a multipurpose venue, till the reality set in that it was really all about the rugby, it never gets used for anything else. Whats wrong with redeveloping Mount Smart?

I used to be against the waterfront stadium concept but I have changed my mind.
Eden Park is a horrible venue in so many ways.
As I say above, though - my own support for it is conditional on mass apartment building to replace Eden Park. Preferably Kiwibuild

The Eden Park site is about 14 hectares
If we assume a development area of 10 hectares (4 hectares goes to roads and a mid sized park), and a density of 200 dwellings per hectare (easily achievable with 6-8 storey apartments) then 2000 apartments can be realised on this site

Say you get $1M per lot for that land. $200m is a rounding error on the cost to build this new stadium.

this plan looks sensational. and it is desperately needed for auckland. my fear is that it will not get off the ground because of all the naysayers. And will doubt get held up in the environment court for the best part of 10 years... as someone will be upset about dredging up the sand? Go figure.

Like the thought, but maybe something that is used by the public daily should go there. Imagine if it was a summer hotspot, or a white water world theme park with a wave pool. Couldn’t we do something awesome with that space.

Its not worth getting worked up about, its never going to happen. With all the spare land we have you want to stick a stadium in the middle of the harbour in the CBD ?

How much will it cost to run per annum? And who pays that?

Stadiums always lose money as far as I can tell.