The NSW Government has done a U-turn on its plans to knock down the ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park in Australia and will renovate it instead.
The government said the refurbished facility will deliver a better experience by bringing fans closer to the action and making all seats undercover.
Construction, which is expected to cost A$800 million, is expected to start in late 2019 and be completed by mid-2021.
The government has also announced it will fully redevelop Allianz Stadium into a world-class venue at a cost of A$730 million.
Improvements to the Moore Park stadium include: substantially improved sightlines; a roof that covers all patrons; significantly improved amenity, and food and beverage options.
Work on Allianz Stadium is expected to commence in late 2018, and be completed by March 2022.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said compared to a “knock down rebuild”, the cost of renovating ANZ Stadium would save $500 million and complete the rebuild two years earlier than previously scheduled. She said:
We will be able to deliver two outstanding stadiums for Sydney at the best possible value for taxpayers.
We’ve listened to the community, we know the public would have thought that is too much to spend.
Ms Berejiklian also announced the NRL grand final would remain in Sydney for the next 25 years, and said the city would have lost major events had her Government not invested in stadiums.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said:
Naturally I would have preferred to see a new stadium built at Sydney Olympic Park in line with our Memorandum of Understanding.
But this remains the biggest infrastructure program the game has ever seen, one that gives our fans a new level of stadia facilities.