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Christchurch City Council approves business case for 25,000 seat roofed venue

Christchurch City Council approves business case for 25,000 seat roofed venue
December 12, 2019

Plans for the development of a new 25,000 roofed stadium in Christchurch will go to the New Zealand Cabinet for approval following Christchurch City Councillors having today approved the investment case for the venue.

With the Council having committed $253 million for the project, Cabinet approval is required to unlock $220 million from the Crown’s Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Facility.

This is expected to take place before Christmas enabling detailed design and enabling works to commence next year ahead of the start of construction in 2021.

With the covered CBD stadium the last of the anchor projects in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, its investment case advised that a 25,000 seat venue and a clear roof would be the best fit for the city.

The $472.7 million venue would also be able to hold up to 36,000 people when in concert mode.

Welcoming the agreement, Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel stated “it’s a big step forward for the city.

“The key now is to get the ball rolling and keep the momentum going without let up.

“Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand and the natural home in the South Island for major events, but at the moment we are missing out on those events because we don’t have an appropriate venue.

“We haven’t hosted an All Black Test since 2016 and large-scale non-sporting events only infrequently come to Christchurch. We have only managed to attract three large-scale concerts to Christchurch since 2015 – Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters.

“If we want to regularly have these large-scale events in our city – and the visitors and economic benefits that come with them – we need to have an all-weather multi-use arena.”

Investment in the stadium has received the support of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce (CECC), ChristchurchNZ, the Crusaders, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, Vbase, Sport Canterbury and the Property Council.

Mayor Dalziel added “we will be appointing a fully independent and experienced group of people to lead the delivery of the arena. This will ensure that we have the expertise in place to keep the project on budget and on time.

“I am confident that we will attract more private investment. We need to honour the promise that was made to those who have already invested in the central city.”

The investment case also suggests that another 5000 temporary seats could be added in the future, subject to funding.

These additional seats are seen to be crucial to New Zealand Rugby who have advised that a 30,000 capacity would guarantee All Blacks tests.

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said venue capacity was just one of a number of factors NZ Rugby looked at when allocating tests, noting that the body  was pleased the case included temporary seats to take capacity beyond 25,000.

The stadium is expected to host an All Blacks test, three major concerts and about 20 other events per year.

Operating costs are budgeted at $4.2 million more than revenue, to be topped up by ratepayers.

Authorities will consider extra funding and revenue sources, including through regional rates and commercial ventures like a sports museum, fan shop or gym.

The stadium will be owned by the Council and operated by council events company Vbase. A draft timeline aims for major construction work to start in early 2022, with hopes the stadium will open in spring 2024.

The investment case says the stadium will bring $395.6 million in economic benefits, plus others that cannot be quantified.

Without a stadium, it argues that Christchurch faces reduced tourism and economic activity, less vibrancy, and delays to other investment in the area.

Images show the new venue in concert mode. Courtesy of Christchurch City Council.

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29th July 2019 - Draft ‘Global Settlement’ sets path towards final Christchurch rebuild costs

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19th February 2019 - AEG Ogden to manage Christchurch’s Te Pae convention centre

30th January 2019 - Vbase looks forward to sporting events and international concerts

14th December 2018 - Christchurch’s Lancaster Park to be retained for sport and recreation

31st October 2018 - Christchurch looks forward to a summer of events

20th August 2018 - AMI ends Christchurch stadium sponsorship

6th July 2018 - Vbase Chair praises outgoing chief executive

4th July 2018 - Christchurch City Council reveals plans to restructure Vbase

4th November 2014 - Christchurch’s temporary AMI Stadium set for longer life

21st May 2009 - Government Commits $15 million for AMI Stadium

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