Sir Peter Jackson doubles budget for Wellington movie museum but delays construction
Sir Peter Jackson has doubled what he intends to spend on Wellington's proposed movie museum, but the time he is taking to finalise his plans has delayed its construction.
It has also left Wellington waiting longer than it had hoped for its new convention centre, which will occupy the top floor above the museum in a $150 million, three-storey building to be built across the road from Te Papa, between Cable and Wakefield streets.
Wellington City Council is paying for the new building, while The Movie Museum Limited (TMML), run by Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, will pay for the museum fitout, which will include Jackson's extensive collection of movie memorabilia.
When plans were first announced in late 2015, construction was expected to start in 2016 and be completed by 2018.
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But a construction start date for the maui-inspired building still has not been locked in, and some do not expect the facility to be ready now until at least 2020.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the council was "ready to go" and was just waiting on interior designs to be finalised and signed off by Jackson.
"I'm meeting with him in the next four to six weeks for more confirmation."
Lester said he recognised it was a partnership, but wanted construction to get underway by the end of the year.
He believed Jackson was busy working on his upcoming movie, Mortal Engines.
Wellington City Council city growth and partnerships director Derek Fry said Jackson had doubled his exhibition budget, which the council was excited about.
He would not say exactly how much Jackson was spending.
"This has had an impact on the internal design work, so we have had to shift the timeframe."
Councillors would get an update on timing, legal requirements and cost in May, he said.
TMML project director George Hickton said designing and finalising the specific details of the movie museum's layout was taking longer than originally anticipated.
"We are all working to make this a truly world-class, globally-recognised attraction," he said.
"So we want to ensure we take the time now to get the concepts and the visitor experience absolutely bang-on as it will not be possible with an attraction of this scale to make significant changes once construction is underway."
Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said the business community would be prepared to wait a little longer for a convention centre, but not indefinitely, and would like an indication of when it will happen.
"We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We want the convention centre to be ready as soon as possible but knowing Peter Jackson's attention to detail, [the museum] will be exceptional and a real point of difference for the city."
David Perks, from the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, said it had been "careful" and taken no bookings for the conference centre yet.
His expectation was that it would be ready by 2020-21.