Published 22 February 2006
Auckland Showgrounds announced a $26 million upgrade programme yesterday which will see its exhibition space increased 50% to 18,000mÂ² and made subdivisible so multiple events can be held at the same time.
The first stage of redevelopment began in November, with completion scheduled for April. It will have a new “hub”, including a foodcourt, function rooms, wine bar, entry & registration areas, and extensions to 2 exhibition halls.
The second stage, to be completed in 2007, will have a 6000mÂ² exhibition hall with an 84m clear span.
“It will attract events that previously didn’t consider New Zealand a viable venue,” Showgrounds Society chairman Bob Tilsley said.
The redevelopment required new partnerships, announced yesterday. ASB Ltd has taken naming rights â€“ the events centre has been renamed the ASB Showgrounds â€“ and the bank is contributing finance in a 10-year commitment. Auckland City Council staff have been closely involved in helping a restructure of the Showgrounds organisation and the council is contributing $5 million to the redevelopment.
Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard said the project was expected to generate a $100 million/year economic benefit to the region by 2010, up from about $55 million now.
“This has got huge implications for Auckland,” the mayor said. He saw the redevelopment as another step in raising Auckland to the status of a quality international city and said the payback made the investment sensible: “Spending $26 million to generate about $50 million income/year makes a great deal of sense.”
Attribution: Speeches, press release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.