Revealed: Property figure behind plan for Auckland waterfront stadium

Author
Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald,
Section
Auckland,
Publish Date
Thursday, 11 October 2018, 5:29p.m.
There has been renewed calls for a new stadium in Auckland's CBD. (Photo / File)
There has been renewed calls for a new stadium in Auckland's CBD. (Photo / File)

An Auckland property valuer is heading a consortium planning a new stadium on port land along the Auckland waterfront.

"I can confirm there is a consortium and it is looking at a stadium development and we have spoken to the mayor," Dave Wigmore told the Herald.

Wigmore, an experienced property adviser and valuer, said he was chairing a group of well-known professionals in the Auckland market and hoped to make a public announcement by the end of next week.

The plan is to build a stadium partly sunk into Bledisloe Wharf at the city end of Ports of Auckland. Wigmore did not dispute a report by Newsroom the consortium wants the rights to develop Eden Park for housing to offset the costly stadium.

"I don't think we can say too much other than we are talking to a wide range of stakeholders, which would obviously involve Eden Park," Wigmore said.

The Eden Park Trust Board has never been interested in moving from its 9ha site on the city fringe. The park is administered by the trust under statute and the ultimate beneficiaries are Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket.

Trust chairman Doug McKay said he met Wigmore, an architect and a Simpson Grierson lawyer at the law firm last Friday.

He said a deck of slides and a non-disclosure form was pushed across the table to him but he pushed them back and refused to sign anything.

"They proceeded to look out the window from Simpson Grierson and say 'that big wharf down there, that's where we are putting the stadium, blah, blah, blah, and we think we can do it without ratepayer funding'," McKay said.

He said he wasn't clear what they wanted but wished them all the best, saying his interest is to make sure Eden Park survives for the next 10 or 20 years.

"We are just interested in making sure we are still around to serve the needs of Auckland until it becomes a reality, if ever it does," McKay said.

The idea to build a waterfront sports stadium is not a new one, with the idea having been around since the early 2000s and resurrecting before the Rugby World Cup.

Each time the issue has arisen, the idea has been shot down due to substantial costs associated and a failure to find agreement.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff floated the idea of a waterfront stadium shortly after being elected in 2016.

He was behind a recent pre-feasibility study conducted by consulting firm PwC, which estimated it would cost between $1.1 billion and $1.5b to build the stadium in downtown Auckland.

Goff said he been approached by a private sector consortium of local businesses who are interested in building a downtown stadium.

He said council is not in a position to finance a stadium, it is not a priority. There is no money in the new 10-year budget for a stadium.

"We are however open to considering a national stadium being funded from the private sector.

"I would welcome public debate around the design and location of any stadium which would provide Council with valuable feedback on possible options for the future," Goff said.

Michael Stiassny, who chairs Ngati Whatua's investment arm, Whai Rawa, said the local iwi was not involved in the plans for a new waterfront stadium.

 

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