Wellington movie museum, convention centre to get green light from council
Wellington will host a combined convention centre and movie museum in a development worth hundreds of millions.
Wellington City Council is expected to approve a land purchase for the $134.4 million project on Tuesday, hoping to give the region's economy a multi-million dollar boost.
The three-storey building on Cable and Wakefield streets will include a 6000sqm convention centre on the top floor, capable of hosting 1100 people, and a 10,000sqm movie museum on the bottom two floors.
Construction will start in 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2018.
The Movie Museum Limited, a company formed by Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, will run the museum. It will feature many props from the two Wellington film stalwarts' own considerable collection.
Museum project Director George Hickton said it would draw from one of the most valuable collections of Hollywood memorabilia in the world, featuring thousands of priceless designs, props, models and set pieces.
The museum will have permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a retail shop, a cafe, and permanent offices.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said it would be "extremely unlikely" for council to not to go ahead with the complex.
Te Papa's Gallipoli exhibition and Jackson's Great War Exhibition had proved that film talent could translate into enthralling exhibitions and had given the council more confidence, she said.
A new convention centre was needed because existing facilities in the city were aging, too small, and often not available.
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The project was already budgeted for in the Long Term Plan but council would consult because the museum was being brought forward by four years. It would have no impact on rates, Wade-Brown said.
Construction is expected to provide 440 jobs, with another 568 ongoing jobs created by the centre.
The project was expected to contribute $36m a year to the Wellington economy and attract about 350,000 visitors annually.
" It will have a halo effect on urban regeneration and secondary investment. We strongly believe it will create [business] spin-off, such as new hotels and will help with the airport extension case," Wade-Brown said.
Deputy Mayor Justin Lester said the museum would become New Zealand's most significant man-made attraction and an international draw card.
"It's a little bit when Disneyland first opened in California, but in a Wellington context."
The combination of the movie museum and convention centre would generate an almost unprecedented boost to long-term employment and economic growth in the city, he said.
"In the 150th year since Wellington became New Zealand's capital, there are only a handful of moments that rival the significance of this announcement."
Jo Coughlan, chairwoman of Wellington City Council's economic growth committee, said if the convention centre did not go ahead, the city risked losing 17 per cent of that market, which equated to $24m in lost business.
Wellington businesses, Willis Bond & Co, L T McGuinness and Studio Pacific Architecture will undertake the project.
What they say:
The Movie Museum project director George Hickton:
"This Museum could only be realised in Wellington. The company's founders all live in Wellington and it is also the place that some 2,000 talented filmmakers and craftspeople call home. The Movie Museum will celebrate their work, bringing the film industry closer to the people and communities which support it."
First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson:
With a 'double header' of both convention centre and film museum attracting visitors to the capital, businesses throughout the city can look forward to further sustained growth for these markets.
Hospitality New Zealand Wellington regional manager Dylan Firth:
More visitors to the city would boost spending in cafes and restaurants in the wider area.
Delegates attending conferences would be particularly good for the mid-week market in hospitality and hotels. It will create more opportunity for jobs in the industry.
By the numbers
$134.4m, the total cost of development (including land).
6000sqm convention centre.
10,000sqm movie museum.
350,000 visitors to movie museum expected each year.
$36m per annum expected benefits to the Wellington economy.
1000 jobs expected to be created.