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New Zealand – Design agreed for New Zealand International Convention Centre

By - 1 June 2015

The New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) project has now reached a significant milestone, with SKYCITY and the Crown agreeing on the Preliminary Design of the new building.

The agreement follows a three-month review of the previous design, which was undertaken following confirmation from the Government that it would not be making any financial contribution to the cost of the NZICC.

SKYCITY Chief Executive, Nigel Morrison, says the company is delighted with the design of what will be a very significant and substantial building, benefiting both Auckland and New Zealand.
“We are very proud of the exceptional design we have presented to the Crown and happy to have reached this milestone. We have some incredibly talented and experienced people contributing to this project to ensure we create a landmark building for Auckland and something all Kiwis can be proud of.”

A world-class design team led by renowned New Zealand architects Warren and Mahoney has created an exciting, contemporary convention centre design that retains all the key aspects of the original proposal. These include light-filled, transparent major spaces, 9-metre high ceilings in the exhibition halls and a nearly column-free interior.

Floor to ceiling glazing will connect the building and visitors to the life of the city, with panoramic views from the top floor showcasing Auckland and the Waitemata Harbour.

“The revised design is for a slightly smaller centre, but it’s a smarter, streamlined and more flexible building that makes clever use of space and has an overall footprint that is actually very similar to the original Crown Brief for the project,’’ Mr Morrison says.

“Careful redesigning of non-essential space has seen the gross floor area reduce to 32,000sqm while still allowing for a plenary of 2,850 delegates – just 150 fewer than in the previous design. The Exhibition Hall, an area of some 8,100 sq metres (some six times larger than the current largest convention facility in Auckland, SKYCITY’s The New Zealand Room), will be able to seat banquets ranging from 1,360 to 3,000 people.

“If needed, the flat floor Exhibition Hall could accommodate over 4,200 people in theatre style seating. The centre will still be capable of hosting two concurrent conferences of up to 1,200 delegates each – or a single conference of up to 3,150 people. Flexible internal spaces with movable walls will maximise the use of every square metre of floor space.

“The spaces in the NZICC are designed to allow fast and effortless transition between meeting, exhibition, pre-function, banquet and performance spaces, ensuring they are fully utilised and meet the needs of local and international customers of the Centre.

“A newly created laneway, which we hope will become another Federal Street, will encourage Aucklanders and visitors alike to linger and enjoy the precinct with its public gallery space, shops, cafes, bars and more quality signature restaurants.

“Following discussions with key stakeholders who have expertise in the conventions industry, we are confident that the nominal adjustments made to the scale of the centre will make no difference to either the size or quality of international conferences it will attract. The vast majority of the conferences we are focused on securing require capacity for up to 3,000 delegates, which falls well within the NZICC capacity,” says Mr Morrison.

“The additional tens of thousands of international visitors that the centre will attract each year is great news for retailers, tourism operators, and indeed everyone in the tourism and hospitality industry and further cements Auckland’s place as a leading international city in the 21st century.’’
After discussions with the Crown, SKYCITY has agreed to increase the contracted value of its investment in the NZICC from $402m to $430m. The additional commitment for the project by SKYCITY reflects the relocation of the future hotel development site from Wellesley St to Hobson St.

“In all likelihood, however, we expect the total cost of developing the NZICC facility to be in the range of $450 million to $470m, including land; well in excess of our original commitment of $402m.
“Taking in to account the associated construction of additional car parks, the laneway development as well as the planned new 300 room 5-star Hobson Street hotel, this represents a $650m-plus investment in much-needed public and tourism infrastructure in downtown Auckland.’’

In order to facilitate the beginning of construction and to reduce the risk of additional cost inflation, both SKYCITY and the Crown have agreed that SKYCITY should have more responsibility for the design, procurement and construction processes through to the opening of the NZICC.

“SKYCITY will now focus on finalising a construction partner for the project and securing Resource Consent from Auckland Council. Subject to this, we hope to sign a building contract and start construction by the end of this year.

“We are looking forward to getting on with delivering a fantastic Convention Centre for Auckland and New Zealand and we are pleased to have met this significant milestone today,” says Mr Morrison.

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