SkyCity unveils Convention Centre design
Casino operator SkyCity has unveiled concept designs for its controversial international convention centre in Auckland.
Chief executive Nigel Morrison said the concepts were the first stage in establishing what the centre would look like.
"Through a collaborative process with the Government, we now have an approved concept and vision that will inform our design team and enable them to produce a compelling and considered design for the NZICC [New Zealand International Convention Centre] ahead of lodging resource consent which is anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2014," he said.
Simon Jamieson, the company's group general manager for the convention centre, said the design had flexible space over four levels and a multi-use theatre to accommodate 3000 people for convention and entertainment events.
"The exhibition floor will be the size of Eden Park's rugby pitch with a 9-metre-high stud and the ability to accommodate two Dreamliner 787 aeroplanes side by side," he said.
"In addition, the master plan for the Hobson-Nelson Street site will also include a 300-room five-star hotel and pedestrian laneway both of which will benefit from the increased visitation generated by the NZICC."
SkyCity is paying for the construction of the centre after agreeing a deal with the Government allowing it to extend its casino licence to 2048 and add 230 poker machines and 40 gaming tables.
The cost of building is estimated at $315 million, with an additional $87m in land cost.
The deal caused controversy over the gambling concessions in exchange for SkyCity building the centre.
There was particular opposition from gambling opponents such as the Salvation Army, which said it was "opposed to New Zealand selling legislation to secure these gains, especially when problem gamblers and their families will pay the highest personal price".
"That's not ethical procurement," the Salvation Army said.
Today, Labour leader David Cunliffe said that if elected, his government would reserve the right to further regulate gaming laws.
He had not reviewed the finer details of the documents released today, but was concerned a new hotel appeared to have slipped in.
"That wasn't in the original proposal as far as I'm aware."
Cunliffe said a Labour government would not tear down a new building if work had already started.
SkyCity said today that the centre would enhance the western edge of Auckland's CBD and provide a catalyst for more development in the Victoria Quarter.
The company said it would be the biggest building project in Auckland since the Sky Tower was built in 1997.
"During construction, the NZICC is expected to create 1000 construction-related jobs," Jamieson said.
"Once up and running, it is expected to attract more than 33,000 new international visitors to New Zealand, generating $90 million of economic benefits to New Zealand annually and 800 jobs. The hotel development will create a further 150 jobs."
Design lead and Warren & Mahoney's chairman, Andrew Barclay, said the convention centre would be "the venue in which our country hosts the world".
Beca Project Management will manage the centre's development, with Tony McKee leading as director of project management.
Boffa Miskel director of design Rachel de Lambert has been appointed director of urban design for the project. Beca will provide structural, civil, geotechnical and building services engineering design.
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