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New stadium approved for Christchurch

Christchurch City Council in New Zealand has approved plans for a covered multi-use stadium with seating for at least 25,000 people.

The stadium is one of the anchor projects included in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan and is going to be built in the city centre on Crown-owned land.

The plan will now go to Cabinet for approval, which would unlock $220m of government funding. The council has committed $253m.

The investment case found a $472.7 million facility with 25,000 seats and a clear roof to be the best fit for the city. It would be able to hold up to 36,000 people for concerts with a standing area. Another 5000 temporary seats could be added in the future, if funding for them was found.

The net operating costs for the arena, including lifecycle costs, are anticipated in the Investment Case to be $4.2 million per annum.

Under the suggested delivery model, the Council would appoint a Project Board who would then independently appoint a delivery team who would pull together consortia of contractors to build the arena.

Alistair Pearson, Christchurch City Council manager major facilities vertical capital delivery, said:

The Investment Case shows there is a strong strategic case for building a multi-use arena.

Without an arena Christchurch cannot host big concerts or top-level sporting events. These events attract visitors and revenue to the city and are important for economic development. They also add to residents’ quality of life and make Christchurch an attractive, vibrant place to live.

At the moment we are not capturing our share of economic benefit from cultural and sporting events. A new arena will provide an anchor and catalyst for CBD recovery and revitalisation and provide a focal point and an attraction for local and international visitors.

Modelling undertaken for the investment case conservatively estimates that stays in Christchurch will increase by nearly 100,000 bed-nights per annum because of the domestic and international tourism driven by the new arena.

Assuming the Investment Case is approved, enabling works are expected to commence on-site in quarter two of 2020. The arena is expected to open in 2024.