SkyCity pays $10.7m for key Auckland land

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 11:30 03/07/2014
Sky City
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ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: SkyCity Auckland International Convention Centre

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SkyCity Entertainment Group has acquired all the central Auckland land needed for its larger convention centre.

But details about the final plans for the site are unlikely to be made public prior to September's general election.

The Government and SkyCity signed an agreement to build the New Zealand International Convention Centre a year ago.

The deal will see the casino giant pay $402 million to build and operate the NZICC, in return for a the right to operate more gambling machines and tables and a 27-year extension of SkyCity's licence to operate as an effective monopoly in Auckland.

The deal listed two options for the footprint of the NZICC development, with the slightly larger second proposal requiring SkyCity to acquire two properties at 85 and 91 Hobson Street.

The smaller proposal allowed for a fall-back option if SkyCity was unable to reach an agreement with landowner Television New Zealand to acquire the two further parcels of land.

In September last year property records list SkyCity acquiring the additional properties for a combined sale price of $10.65m. The combined rateable value for the sections is $8.25m.

SkyCity general counsel Peter Treacy said the company had always planned to run with the larger proposal, but the tight timeframe requiring contracts to be inked meant a smaller alternative needed to be considered.

"The planning we have always done, and the numbers we've been quoting, have always assumed having that [extra] land. But we couldn't really enter into an agreement assuming we'd be building something on land we didn't yet own," he said.

Fairfax Media understands final design plans for the NZICC are expected to be publicly unveiled later this year, likely to be after the September 20 General Election, with applications for resource consents to follow.

The agreement between the Government and SkyCity calls for construction of the NZICC to be completed by September 30, 2017.

Disruption for Auckland commuters from the NZICC construction project could combine with more traffic chaos if the City Rail Link project starts early, as is being pushed for by the Auckland Council.

The CRL would require the entire city block opposite the Britomart transport centre to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch in order to allow the digging of tunnels.

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