Debate about a new stadium in the city has once again reared it’s head

A new football stadium in downtown Auckland is back in play, a decade after the city’s politicians and rugby establishment said no to a stadium on the waterfront.

The Warriors have secured their future at Mt Smart Stadium until 2028 and sometime after that Eden Park will need major investment with nothing set aside in the bank.

Chris Brooks, the council boss charged with salvaging the city’s troubled stadiums strategy, says there is a view the city needs to decide whether to reinvest in Eden Park or build a new stadium.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle wants a stadium as the home of rugby, league and football in the heart of the city.

The transport was really good and a stadium would create a vibrancy in the centre of town that Melbourne already enjoys, said Mr Doyle.

Eden Park Trust board chairman Doug McKay was unaware of talk about a new stadium, but hoped to be part of any future conversation.

Eden Park, he said, could cover its interest bill and running costs but could not put aside depreciation funding of about $7 million to $8 million a year for future work.

“What that means in [10 or 20 years’] time when you need an upgrade is you have to go cap in hand to the Government and the council,” he said.

I think most people would agree that the stadium situation in Auckland is absurd. Eden Park is wrong in so many ways but the alternatives aren’t any better either.

Instantly talk has also returned to the idea of a waterfront stadium – something proposed by former Labour government a decade ago to be built for the 2011 Rugby World Cup but which was opposed by the regional council and others.

Auckland Waterfront Stadium concept

Back in 2006 I thought a waterfront stadium was a good idea and I was disappointed it didn’t happen. However I’ve since changed my views on the matter and I’m glad it didn’t happen.

The reality is that like other often cited city developments such as convention centres and casinos, stadiums are incredibly space hungry inward looking structures. Yes they absolutely can attract people to the city when games or concerts are on but the issues is that for the rest of the week they sit idle, large and lifeless. That is perhaps the worst thing to put on the most prime real estate in the region – the waterfront.

Take as a comparison somewhere like Wynyard Quarter. The development currently under way is about the same size as a stadium would need and across the week would generate far more activity than a stadium with a weekly rugby or league game would.

And of course this doesn’t take into account the costs to the city/government of building a stadium. The 2006 proposal was estimated to cost around $500 million. What projects would Auckland or the government need to defer to enable it to fund that and what would the opportunity cost of that be. Stadiums all over the world also have a history of not being sound investments for cities. Perhaps if the owners of the sports teams who would use these facilities were prepared to stump up the construction costs it might make me think differently but they don’t seem to be suggesting that.

But if we were to think seriously about building a new stadium near the city where would it go?

Looking at a number of stadiums designed specifically for sports codes like Rugby or League and with similar capacity to Eden Park it seems they generally need around 200m x 180-200m. As I mentioned, quite space hungry. There are not too many places in or near the city we could put something that large. The images below show how much space would approximately be needed at the locations suggested.

The waterfront is one option but as mentioned, in my view not ideal. That might change if the port was moved but still I suspect there is better development that could happen there if occurred. In any case I think it would have to be further down the waterfront than what was proposed in 2006.

Auckland Stadium size - waterfront

The City Works Depot site seems to be the only relatively clear site that exists. The distance between Wellesley St and Cook St is about 200m but to get the width need it would require taking out buildings and realigning Sale St. The sites needed are also in private ownership and suffer the same problem, would be more valuable to their owners as a mix of office and residential development.

Auckland Stadium size - CityWorks

The only other place with that much space that is not already a public park would be over the top of the parts of the CMJ but imagine it would be quite an engineering challenge and therefore quite expensive

Auckland Stadium size - CMJ

What do you think, should there be a new stadium eventually and where do you think it should be – of course other suggestions are welcome.

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  1. Over the motorway would be really interesting. It would help create a flat piece of land to link the two sides into a more contiguous block instead of just the couple of bridges.

    Otherwise good argument, making me rethink my ‘just do it’ thoughts.

    1. That’s a good point, the stadium would allow for (a relatively expensive) a bridge between Eden Terrace, Newton and Mercury Lane. Perfect for extending the reach of the K Road CRL station.

    1. You’re nuts. Nobody is going to trek all the way out to Hampton Downs. I know people who steadfastly refuse to even travel over the bridge to visit Albany’s stadium.

  2. Bulldoze some property in the areas that opposed the unitary plan perhaps. I am kidding, our current stadia are fine

    1. The current stadia are anything but “fine”. They are a complete mess.
      Eden park is neither fish nor fowl.
      North Harbour is great for watching a game but access and egress are abysmal, plus it is in the wrong place.
      Mt. Smart is the best of a bad lot.
      For once I agree with something TRM has written: modern stadia do NOT lie empty all week between games. They are put to a myriad of uses.

      1. What uses? Where are these magical stadia? I’ve travelled extensively and all I see are empty stadiums sometimes used for the odd ‘home’ game. And usually all these new or upgraded stadiums are paid for by the city, not the team owner.

        1. Nick they’re looking to use the stadium for a number of teams, chiefly Blues & Warriors, meaning a game every week for most of the year unlike what happens at the moment where individual stadia have only ***one*** tenant. Big stadia overseas are often used for concerts and for industry fairs etc

    2. Our current stadia are NOT fine. I’ve been to major stadia all over the world for a number of top sporting events and the supposed best of our stadia, Eden Park is a dogs breakfast in comparison.

      Yes the waterfront could be used for more offices and apartments but actually the area that should have more residential development is the one where Eden Park is now. So by putting Eden Park in the city centre (my own favourite is Wynyard though when the land was available in around 2006 it should’ve gone where Carlaw Park was) a lot of space would be freed up for residential development in Kingsland. And also the new stadium could be funded or at least a large proportion of it funded from the residential development of the current Eden Park area. I think it’s absolutely nonsense that the current stadia is in a residential area which severely limits its use, a fact which Matt completely and conveniently ignored. IMHO it is far better to have a main stadium in the city centre, with easy PT access across a number of modes (Matt also ignored that fact) for people across the whole of the city, than again in a residential area like Kingsland. A central city stadium is also close to the main entertainment districts of the city. IMHO it’s a no-brainer to move the stadium to the city centre and make the current stadium area a new residential development based mostly on mid-rise units and apartments. On another note, I’d like to emphasise that our waterfront already has a large amount of residential and office space, along with bars and restaurants so IMHO it would actually be nice to have something different down there rather than same old, same old boring residential and office buildings! Also unlike the wharf areas further east that saw opposition come from those who would have their views destroyed, a stadium at Wynyard should allow those on the Mary’s Bay cliff tops and Ponsonby ridge etc to maintain their Waitemata Harbour views.

  3. I’m a big fan of a waterfront stadium and there are many examples around the world of such stadiums.

    The big plus is that all your transport is already there. Trains, buses, vehicles, there is no need for special event management because the infrastructure is already there. Plus the stadium is close to accommodation but perhaps more importantly is close to after match activities. The value of a stadium is not just in the gate receipts it generates. The value needs to include additional spending the stadium generates in the immediate area.

    I feel there are some fallacies in your argument with regards to the lack of use. It is not correct to say the stadium is only utilised once/twice a week for sports games. Modern stadia incorporate all sorts of facilities within their confines. The reality is the stadium would be utilised every day. Seminars, training, team building, school balls, awards ceremonies are just some of a huge list of events that stadium facilities can be utilised for. With modern turf techniques the playing field could be utilised every other day for a wide variety of events.

    We’ve already made a mistake once in not building a waterfront stadium. Let’s not make that mistake again.

    1. “Modern stadia incorporate all sorts of facilities within their confines. The reality is the stadium would be utilised every day. Seminars, training, team building, school balls, awards ceremonies are just some of a huge list of events that stadium facilities can be utilised for. With modern turf techniques the playing field could be utilised every other day for a wide variety of events.”

      I’m sorry, but that’s wishful bunkum. If it were true then the Wynyard Event Centre would be turning a profit. If it were true then Vector Arena would be turning a profit.

      Besides, why should ratepayers fork out $1B so a few dozen corporate executives can go on a team building exercise once a year?

      I look forward to hearing the Waterfront Stadium will dual as an innovative technology hub due to the 32 recharging stations allocated for electric vehicles, because that PR spin can’t be far away.

  4. Mt Smart. Shove them all in there except the cricket. If you look at the numbers they just dont need Eden Park a smaller stadium would be fine for most rugby games. The cricket people need a big open area and seating for about 100 spectators so the Domain would be fine for that- just make entry free (they might even get 200 people show up!) Eden park is too big for rugby and too small for cricket and in the wrong place so just close it. As for the big test matches I say let them play in Christchurch or somewhere people actually care.

    1. Agree with this, although we could use Western Springs for test cricket every few years. We already have far too many stadiums, we certainly don’t need to waste money on a new one.

      A stadium is a regional destination, doesn’t have much integration with its surroundings, will mostly get visitors by car or (ideally) public transport, not walking or cycling, and is unused 99% of the time. Mount Smart is the perfect place for a stadium – central, in a regional sense, handy to the rail network, lots of space, no sensitive neighbours.

      Much as I like living within walking distance of Super Rugby games, Eden Park is never going to be allowed to host enough events to make it worthwhile. Bowl it, make a new central suburbs school, a public sportsfield on the site of the old No. 1 ground, have a rugby/cricket museum, and build some housing.

  5. So, not really any other options then… 🙂

    I never understood why Eden Park is such a bad spot. Close to public transport and main arterial routes; easy walking distance from not only two local entertainment/dining precincts but also the CBD.
    And people seem to forget that AKl Cricket owns Eden Park, so why would they want to move somewhere else and rent?

    This issue will once again blow itself out. Until a wealthy sports team owner decides they want a new location for their team…

  6. Stick with Eden Park. It has good road, walking and PT access.
    We must remember that Eden Park is not just an Auckland venue, it is a National Venue and a significant regional venue with representative teams.
    I just wish these guys in Council stop fantasizing……As soon as they mention the cost, the Council and rate payers will say NO.

    Chris Brooks please resign and just go away. You failed to move the Warriors, you have not achieved anything with the so called stadiums strategy.
    Give up and go away, and make a cost saving for the rate payer!

    1. To be fair to Chris Brooks, he’s not the guy who totally ballsed up the previous stadium strategy, Brooks is the new guy bought in to replace the last clown, Robert Domm.

      Personally I’m still well against such an inward facing monolithic structure wasting a massive chunk of our waterfront, but I’m not necessarily against a better located stadium more suitable for rectangular field sports, one that would replace all the others, but that said, I also don’t see why we don’t just largely work with what we have. Test cricket is the only sport left in the cold, but hell Auckland Cricket dug that hole themselves, and we’re only talking about 2 tests a year. I think Eden Park is fine for one day cricket, even with its flaws.

  7. Waterfront should be enjoyed by public. How someone sitting inside a stadium can enjoy views of water? What about the railway land just to the east of Vector arena? could put a short section of Quay St and the railway lines under it…?

  8. I was opposed to the original waterfront stadium- it was too big, too expensive.

    But a purpose-built 25,000 seat rugby/league/soccer stadium in Auckland central would be ideal. That’s the same size as Waikato Stadium.

    * A smaller venue creates a better atmosphere for smaller crowds (Blues would sell out most games, warriors would 60% fill most games)
    * Smaller CBD footprint
    * A venue closer to town will create more walk-up crowds and access to bars etc
    * Cricket can be played at a purpose built facility

  9. Stick with Eden Park. We need to spread the love and development around beyond the city centre. Although I really liked the fantasy of plonking it out over the water in the inner Manukau – not many noise issues there, rail opportunities, and by then that harbour will be completely encircled by motorways, no I mean expressways, sorry ‘parkways’.

  10. Dear gawd, please let’s NOT have it anywhere near the waterfront. There must be other ‘central’ options in Auckland, surely? And if Eden Park goes, can we replace it with a block of 8 storey apartment buildings (not cheek by jowl, but with mini plazas inbetween) since they will still be lower than what is there now. Close to the trains and Kingsland shops it will be hot property I’m sure.
    (Locals of course will say NIMBY and lobby to have a ‘low rise’ townhouse development because ‘heritage’ and ‘property values’)

  11. How is the problem of having too many underperforming stadia solved by adding another one?

    Does anyone really believe the NIMBYs of Mt Eden would allow development of Eden Park into a dense mixed use community… although worth a try, at least it’s on the rail line.

    Alternatively lets work that line properly and I see no reason why it can’t work for fans living in west and south Auckland, the rail line is already connected to both areas after all. Or can we detect some ‘not in our nice area’ thinking going on?

    1. Yes, watch our bumbling council ‘compromise’ by allowing a Hobsonville Point-style ‘intensification’ ie 2-3 storey townhouses instead of 8 storey apartment blocks that would still be lower than the stadium sitting there at present.
      Locals will most likely lobby for a High School.

        1. Take 1 million people
          Put them into 8 storey apts
          Look how much space you have for parks
          Now put them into 2-3 storey terraces
          Where did all the parks go?

          Geometry 101.

      1. Locals would most likely lobby **against** a high school as this would trigger redrawing of the existing school zones, moving many locals outside the grammar zone and shaving hundreds of thousands off their property values. MoE has been planning a high school in the vicinity of the Greenlane and Manukau Rd intersection for over a decade but has never worked up the courage to take on what would likely be a well funded and organised class action.

    2. Eden Park needs a change to the zoning all around it. Make it Mixed Use from Dominion Rd to Morningside Drive and from Sandringham Road to Royal Terrace. Gives the opportunity for a higher level of development to balance the scale of the stadium and to enable some more sporting support type development as a precinct based on the stadium. The Res 1 through there is mostly crap. Cut up for student flats in the 1970’s and too close to the arterials.

    3. Isn’t the idea to replace the other stadia, not add a new one? Don’t forget, it’s not just for sports events, but also concerts. While the stadium would be inward looking, no reason it couldn’t be built with public spaces, apartments, restaurants, and hotels around the outside.

      Build it over Quay Park Junction and Quay St, up on legs like the Cake Tin in Wellington.

    4. In the dark ages people lived inside the stadiums left behind by the Romans because they were already there and easy to fortify. Wind forward 1000 years and the same advantages still apply – existing use precedent + barricades against the nimby hordes

  12. The three football/rugby stadia (North Harbour, Eden Park and Mt Smart) do not themselves get enough use, so it’s better to consolidate them into just one stadium and demolish the other two for other land use purposes. Personally I’d choose either the Eden Park or Mt Smart site.

    Second, move cricket to either the Domain or Western Springs, which only requires smaller capacity (think Basin Reserve, Hagley Oval, University Oval).

    1. North Harbour Rugby Union wouldn’t want to play “home” games in Auckland (North Harbour fans hate Auckland even more than Canterbury fans do). The North Harbour Stadium is fine for North Harbour rugby (and league, and football (and cricket and AFL, on the oval adjacent to it)) – it’s a great facility for the sub-region.

      South of the bridge, it’s a problem: Logically, Mt Smart Stadium is probably more central to the Auckland Rugby Union territory, both geographically and population-wise, than Eden Park (and Mt Smart doesn’t (yet) have NIMBYs surrounding it). Likewise, logically, Massey Park in Papakura is probably more central to the Counties-Manukau Rugby Union territory, both geographically and population-wise, than Pukekohe Stadium. But there are other factors apart from logic to take into account; there’s emotions such as a sense of place and sense of history – nostalgia even – that are just as real as logic. Eden Park has a history, and a feel. Pukekohe Stadium has a history, and a feel (and a goat).

      Whether Eden Park is retained or not, I agree with Lindsey above: “Eden Park needs a change to the zoning all around it. Make it Mixed Use from Dominion Rd to Morningside Drive and from Sandringham Road to Royal Terrace. Gives the opportunity for a higher level of development to balance the scale of the stadium and to enable some more sporting support type development as a precinct based on the stadium.”

      1. North Harbour fans (if they exist) don’t go to the games at Albany as far as I can see! QBE Stadium is way out of proportion for an NPC team that plays 6 – 7 home games a year with such a low fan base. An upgraded Onewa Domain would more than suffice.

  13. I think this discussion on a waterfront stadium could trigger a larger debate about the Ports of Auckland and the nature of the waterfront as a whole. I think it is time we start to move the Port and a waterfront stadium could be the spark to fire the public’s immigration on the possibilities of the waterfront. The costs of building the stadium could be offset by developing or selling Mt. Smart, Eden Park, and QBE (Albany). Having Auckland and North Harbour provincial teams, the Blues, the Warriors, NRL nines, the All Blacks, etc. as well as concerts and the like would ensure use of the ground pretty much every weekend. On the issue of the down-time mid week we could do what other stadiums in the world do and combine hotels, offices, and retail. We have time to think about this so we can come up with a great building that supports a re-developed waterfront that lives up to the potential of our world class city.

    1. I wouldn’t bank on the Nines being here beyond 2018, I’m not sure the NRL enjoy seeing half the crowd walk out once the Warriors have been eliminated. Also the overall crowd numbers have been declining each year.

      1. Sure, that’s one event and these things come and go. But just as there wasn’t the nines a few years ago something else will come along. I’m betting that sport will continue to be enjoyable for a good number of people.

    1. It’d be fed by a single low capacity line. In the city you’d have the 3 railway lines, northern busway, ferry system and other buses feeding into it.

  14. How utilized the stadium depends on the management. A well managed stadium will be used for all sort of activities other than just a weekend sport match. For example concert / performance, expo / festivals, and markets.

    The real problem, is the the management. Especially government-run management.

    There is not much incentive for bureaucratic stuff to utilize the venue.
    They could always opt for less work (and less responsibility / risk) by over charging the venue and red-taping the booking criteria for average event organizers.

    Unless the venue is privatized with profitability in mind, it just won’t deliver much value for the land taken.

    1. Currently Auckland Council make it very difficult to use their facilities by charging fees that make it uneconomic for private hire*. This is why The Cloud and the Events Centre are under utilised. There are likely many other examples across the city.
      * – and this is just the basic hire, once you factor in all the various OSH requirements you’re bankrupt before you start.

      1. Shall the council subcontract the management to private provider, and putting in conditions such as priority for sport events, and some KPIs such as utilization and attendance.

        1. Vector’s management is subcontracted out, and the result is the worst managed stadium I have had the misfortune to attend events in. Overpriced and badly run by miserably authoritarian nincompoops who see the stadium’s customers as a chance to shake down a captive audience, no one goes there if they possibly see or do the event somewhere else.

      2. This. Basically, if it isn’t a $250 a head bit of opera for the white toffs of the eastern suburbs the Auckland city council is not interested and it’s facilities are pretty much priced out of the range of the riff raff. The St. James once restored will go that way,the restoration will be sold as an oppoertunity to create a mid-sized concert venue, but once the last bit of posh plaster has dried it will be far to expensive to hire. It will sit there doing nothing 45 weekends of the year, while rock acts, dance parties, festvals and the like will struggle in crappy converted spaces or in outdooor venues where everyone prays it won’t rain for a change.

      3. This. Basically, if it isn’t a $250 a head bit of opera for the white toffs of the eastern suburbs the Auckland city council is not interested and it’s facilities are pretty much priced out of the range of the ordinary Aucklander. The St. James once restored will go that way,the restoration will be sold as an oppoertunity to create a mid-sized concert venue, but once the last bit of posh plaster has dried it will be far to expensive to hire. It will sit there doing nothing 45 weekends of the year, while rock acts, dance parties, festivals and the like will struggle in converted spaces or in outdooor venues where everyone prays it won’t rain for a change.

      4. This. Basically, if it isn’t a $250 a head bit of opera for the white toffs of the eastern suburbs the Auckland city council is not interested and it’s facilities are pretty much priced out of the range of the ordinary Aucklander. The St. James once restored will go that way,the restoration will be sold as an opportunity to create a mid-sized concert venue, but once the last bit of posh plaster has dried it will be far to expensive to hire. It will sit there doing nothing 45 weekends of the year, while rock acts, dance parties, festivals and the like will struggle in converted spaces or in outdooor venues where everyone prays it won’t rain for a change.

  15. No where. We do not ‘need’ a stadium at all. I accept that I don’t understand sport, but this is not personal opinion.

    Sport is a private good. There is no evidence that watching superfit people randomly run up and down and sometimes hurt each other has any public good element at all. There are many things that the public would value more; an open park for a start.

    People are willing to pay for private goods that they need. What the statement from the trust board says, really clear, is that they are not willing to pay remotely enough to justify the space.

    Worldwide sports stadiums exploit gullible tax payers, and suck money.

    Lets call time, and let it close. Please.

    1. If only we lived in a world where logic prevails. But we don’t, so we must pay for these huge expensive stadia so that our children will be inspired to take up and play sports.

      1. There’s evidence that holding an Olympic Games in a country actually *decreases* participation in sport among children. That canard is a pretty weak one. You’re much better off investing in participatory junior sport and physical activity directly.

        (Or building bike lanes so kids cycle to school…)

    2. I generally agree regarding the amount of rates and tax money that go into stadia around the world and think that sporting organisations should contribute more to stadium development.

      However, I don’t agree regarding public good. Tax and Ratepayers spent a significant amount of money on the Rugby World Cup in 2011, however it was a small amount of even an annual Government budget and was enjoyed by a large proportion of the population, who would have happily payed some tax dollars towards it.

      I think sport is a hybrid private/public good, but it would be good to see councils uniting to push back against some of the demands of sporting organisations.

    3. I was considering coming in and trolling with a comment on how sports shouldn’t be publicly subsidised… but I see you’ve already done it for me!

      On a more serious note, I can see why sports attract a public subsidy. There is undoubtedly some community value there. But I’d like to see that subsidy reduced – but not necessarily eliminated – over time. That means that new stadiums should look for a larger funding share from the relevant sports bodies.

      And if those facilities are going to be in heavily-used areas like the Auckland waterfront, it’s imperative to weigh up the community value associated with the sports facility against the value that could be created by other uses – open spaces, transport facilities, commercial and residential development, etc.

  16. They’re planning on demolishing the waterfront stadium in Melbourne (Docklands) for exactly the reasons you mention – it cuts off the waterfront from people who want to use it. Mt.Smart is on a rail line and in a semi-industrial area (read: fewer nimbys), so beef it up and demolish the other two.

    1. I read that story too and it’s rubbish in my opinion. It’s just eddie mcguire, the president of collingwood afl club wanting to be ambitious by basically replacing etihad stadium with one of a similar size in Melbourne park. Melbourne park btw is also located on the waterfront. etihad stadium is actually utilised when no events are happening because it is also the headquarters of channel 7 news in melbourne.

      1. McGuire is driving it, sure, but it wouldn’t be a discussion if there were no problems with Etihad. And it’s a stretch to say Melbourne Park is on the waterfront. It’s miles up the river and out of the CBD, Docklands/Etihad is…well,on the docks of the CBD. It cuts off the city from the water just like a stadium in Auckland would.

        1. ok my mistake, melbourne parks on the yarra but walking along the yarra to melbourne park does have the same feel to it as going to ethihad stadium on the waterfront. but from past experiences, going to the mcg is about a 10 minute walk from fed square so it’s pretty central

          1. and etihad stadium doesnt really cut the city off from the waterfront. firstly the main rail lines run along docklands like they do on quay street before the vector arena, so if anything the stadium has actually allowed for bars and restaurants to be developed along that vicinity and they wouldnt otherwise have been.

  17. There’s much more scope for multi-use on the waterfront, because of its central location and harbour views. I have been to conferences at the MCG in Melbourne. The function rooms are first class, and are even equipped with escalators.

    What about combining such a proposal with docking for cruise ships ? These ships usually arrive shortly before 9 am and leave shortly after 4 pm, so unless it’s a weekend it’s unlikely this would coincide with a game. The land-side infrastructure required for cruise ships is simply a large multipurpose function room with gangways to the ship, and high-capacity pedestrian infrastructure to take passengers to bus tours, city walks or city public transport. Most of this infrastructure would be required for games.

  18. Definitely not on the waterfront. The location has far too much public value to be dropping a large stadium in the way both occupying a significant amount of space and also blocking views. Also I seem to recall Fletchers provided a very open quote ($500m to $1.5b from memory) as they were uncertain how much piling work would be required. It would be a real cost blowout risk.

    Also in reality how many events fill a 50 – 60,000 seat stadium each year? Two All Black tests is all I can think off, along with Warriors and maybe Blues making the finals of their competitions (if that ever happens again!) and Rugby and Cricket World Cups which we are unlikely to host either for a while.

    I actually think Eden Park has a great atmosphere when full and isn’t terribly located being near the rail lines, therefore we should stick with it for big events.

    What we are missing is a quality 25,000 seat stadium in a good location. QBE is a good stadium in a poor location, not sure what they were thinking in the 90s when it was built, I’m pretty sure North Harbour could play at my local park and still have plenty of space for fans. Mt Smart is lemon but in a goodish location. A decision needs to be made to either locate a 25,000 seat stadium in the CBD (not waterfront) of which there are limited options, or run with Mt Smart and upgrade it properly.

  19. I strongly opposed the Waterfront stadium proposed in about 2008 because it would have taken over the space we will need in future for expanding the central ferry terminal + potential conflict between match crowds and other users of the rail terminal at Britomart (though with CRL the importance of Britomart will decline in favour of the new Aotea station). Public access to the waterfront has been hard fought for so please do not cut us off from the harbour with a huge new structure.

  20. We definitely need a smaller, central regional level stadium to service national football, A-league, Warriors, ITM and regular season Blues matches. Something intimate and close to the action where we actually have a chance of building a proper gameday atmosphere, rather than the cavernous maw of Eden Park that is too big for kickball codes and too small for willowbat. The CWD site would be awesome and kickstart some huge eastern CBD development.

  21. Not in the least bit necessary. And City Works Depot is home to Brothers Beer, one of the bastions and champions of craft brewing in our fair city…are far more worthy enterprise than that professional sport silliness!

  22. Eden Park is a shocking cricket ground, it’s just the wrong size and shape. It’s also got a graveyard atmosphere for rugby and league with crowds of under 40,000.

    Yes, it’s near a rail line, but just one. If you put a stadium in the CBD, you’d have all three rail lines feeding into it, plus the northern expressway and other bus services.

    We shouldn’t be afraid of building something spectacular and making it a landmark venue.

    To all the “I hate sport” mob, well lots of people enjoy it, personally I don’t like arts or wild life, but I recognize that many people do and am not selfish enough to suggest that taxes should only be spent on things that I enjoy.

    1. How is it a shocking Cricket ground? I saw two of the greatest games of one day cricket I’ve ever seen there last summer during the World Cup.

      1. The boundaries are far too short, I was at the World Cup last year and fun though it was, it’s not a proper cricket venue.

        Go to Queenstown, Basin Reserve, Hamilton or the Mount and watch some games. You’ll see the difference instantly.

        1. I don’t buy the proper cricket ground argument, have you seen the variation in shapes of grounds in England – the home of cricket, Lords even has a slope! One of the great things about cricket is the variation in conditions, including ground shape that makes it so interesting, anyway it’s not like absurd scores such as 400 – 500 are made at Eden Park. Also two of the best tests played in NZ for some time (Eng 2013 and Ind 2014) were both at Eden Park. It seems to be a trend at the moment to make all stadiums as homogeneous as possible.

          It’s main weakness as a cricket ground is that is seats 40,000 and it’s not often these days we get crowds anywhere near this size, but if we continue to have a large venue I think it should cater for cricket as well.

          Sorry eds, I’m deviating off transport and urban form a bit here!

          1. You don’t buy the cricket ground not big enough story? Really? Ever taken a look at the size of international grounds in other top cricket countries? the boundary lengths of Eden Park are miniscule in comparison. I went to the ODI at Eden Park last month which was enjoyable but still doesn’t mean I think the ground is good enough for top class international cricket. But by trying to cover all bases that also meant the seats for rugby and other football codes are further away tto. they should’ve done what people all over the globe have done with top football stadia and make them football code specific. Says someone who has been to Wembley, Milennium in Cardiff, St.James Park in Newcastle (Eng), San Siro in Milan, Soldier Field in Chicago and Metlife Stadium NYC/NJ.

    2. On the transport connectivity note, keep in mind that the Western Line will get more through-running services after CRL is open. That should make it easier to get from there to eastern and southern line destinations. (Assuming reasonable train planning.) Bus access is a bit more vexed, of course, but CRL will also give us more capacity to connect to downtown buses.

      On the size issue, remember this:

    3. Agreed Alan, Eden Park is a terrible ground–a bad design full of compromises. A centrally located stadium like the Suncorp design would be perfect for Rugby/League.

    1. Eden Park has been built too big and the need to accomodate cricket has left a stadium that is far from a great viewing experience.

  23. Wellington’s “Cake Tin” springs to life for a few hours every few weeks, and is filled to capacity for rare special events only. The rest of the time it sits there like an empty hulk. Sure, a few of its conference rooms and peripheral facilities get used regularly but these are a tiny fraction of the whole. The part that gets the most use is probably the adjoining carpark.
    Do we need this thing? No. It is an expensive luxury. Fortunately it was built on surplus rail-yard land, not on the waterfront.

    Undeniably, it is nice to have on occasions and it works well being served by the rail system, but I personally would much rather the $130 million that it cost to build had instead been put towards something that would benefit far more people on a day-to-day basis. Such as extending the rail system which currently fails to serve most of the city. Something.far more beneficial and far more useful, but which our stadium-visioned leaders have zero appreciation of.

    And we are still paying a “stadium levy” through our rates, some 16 years after it was built.

    1. Plus the caketin is a jack of all trades, master of none effectively its a 40k capacity cricket ground thats plainly not warranted and thus less suitable for the round and oval ball codes reducing the ambience and crowd numbers at those fixtures.

      In hindsight, a 25k rectgular stadium and an upgraded basin for cricket would have beem better bang for buck than having 2 oval stadiums and no suitable rugby and football venue.

      Auckland should learn and choose 2 venues. Get rid of the third stadium.

      1. Exactly. I’m a Canes fan and I hate going down to Wellington to watch games at the caketin. Right location, wrong shape. Again should’ve been football code specific which would’ve meant a far better viewing experience and atmosphere and money should’ve been spent on a modest upgrade to Basin Reserve

    2. Westpac Stadium –

      Another year where it posted a $2m+ profit, 61 event days (8 community), 53 major events… Cricket, Rugby, League, Soccer, AFL, Nitro Circus / Open Concerts, Concourse uses: Home and Living, Beervana etc.

      If you don’t have the 35-40k capacity you don’t get events; no EPL exhibition games (West Ham / Newcastle,) no ABs test, no 4Nations League Final, no Eng WC ODI, no WC ODI QF, no FifaU20 QF. These are just examples from the last full year (to Jul 15.)

      In 2016 probably no Edinburgh Military Tattoo as it has just been hosted or 2 ABs Tests.
      In 2017 no Lions 2nd Test.

      These things would move to Dunedin etc.

      I’ve said this before, hate on stadia economically sure but not the Stadium, have a read.

      Basin should get upgraded, nothing too flash but 12-15,000 with good facilities and some planting / bordering to keep the traffic out.
      Newtown Park should also be upgraded to 10,000 and would continue to be a great community and athletics asset that could be the home of the Phoenix and Wellington Lions.

      Westpac / Newtown run on a joint ownership model.

      1. Thats a 2% return so not a wonderful investmemt though better than Eden Park. I note their assets are only $100m and construction costs alone were $130m. So they have destryed plenty of capital since being built particularly when you consider inflation.

      2. Page 19, note 5 is worth a read. Essentially $40m in free capital. Deduct the real cost of that and you don’t have a surplus at all.

      3. Um so stadiums are meant to MAKE a profit now?? 2m is a great return
        The Councils gave themselves essentially interest free loans ($40m) for a regional asset… oh the horror!!

        And $40m was attributed to Stadium events in the region just for the 2015 year alone
        Crudely over 15 years that would be $600m on the investment $130m but anyway…

        And sorry who is paying for the Y15 2nd round of Capital works?? Oh it is self funding it..? Yep terrible millstone.

        …Shhh please

  24. A portion of the Wynyard Quarter wharf that will, supposedly, turn into a park? Could kick start light rail out that way and bring forward any development in the near vicinity.

  25. Waterfront right next to Vector Arena. Perfect location for an event railway station that services both Vector and the Stadium. This could be a catalyst for the revitalisation of that whole railway area where the ruins of the old beach road station now stands. Build the stadium right over the railway lines next to Vector and get rid of some of that deadwood light industrial area on the strand. Build cafes and restaurants into the stadium to service the surrounding apartments and Quay Park and add a connection to Parnell. When there are no games on during the week, open the stadium concourse up as a mall thoroughfare connecting Parnell and Quay Park. I’ll leave the design of all of this up to the architects and engineers.

    1. You mean pretty close to where Carlaw park used to be?. I wonder how this debate would go if that land was still there.

      I am like Matt; at the time (running out of time before the RWC) I was thinking we should just do it; now maybe not so much.

      However when you look at the aerial views and see we still have big areas of land that have low value single level carparks; including the waterfront PoA land, then I think a well designed mixed use Stadium might still be a better option. Assuming other stadiums are sold off and we don’t end up with yet another stadium, and serious thought is given to how it could be better opened to its environment.

      One of my favorite places in Auckland is Victoria park, and I like the idea of something innovative. Perhaps a smaller (< 30K seats) stadium down on the waterfront with cars buried underneath, (expandable) seating on two sides and allow people to wander through onto the grass over the week and close off movable walls for events.

      Even (given we need more inner city schools), combine with classrooms ringing a playing surface?

      1. I think @JBM meant right next to Vector Arena – to the east, over the railway land and a bit of Quay St.

  26. My turn to be a nimby and say the last thing the city centre needs is large numbers of people, a number of who will be liqoured, coursing through the middle of town.The traffic congestion will be a nightmare. In what way is this considered a good idea? Or is the idea to move the sporting venue out of the leafy, sleepy suburbs?

    Phil Goff says Eden Park is not fit for purpose. It just had millions spent on it in 2011. Twickenham, Lordes, Wimbledon, they’re all in suburbs not the middle of London. Find something else to think about.

    1. As someone who regularly attends sports events but drinks very little alcohol (and from what I saw of other fans at the Blues v Canes game last Friday or a recent Breakers game at Vector I was far from alone) I take offense that people who attend sports gathering should automatically be classified and derided as liquored up hooligans. that is not even close to the mark when it comes to most sports fans. what a ridiculous remark. We do have an alcohol problem in this country but you’re looking in the wrong place. It’s mostly young people not at sports events but going to one of the many local liquor shops and getting preloaded and then heading into town and getting further hammered at all night clubs and bars before getting into fights before sun up or throwing up outside Mcds etc Yeah I live in the city but i don’t like being there later in the evening on Friday and saturday nights, but not because of sports fans! Instead of going off at sports fans maybe you should be looking at the number of liquor shops that have been allowed to sprout up in the last decade or so.

      As for a transport nightmare, that’s so wide of the mark it’s funny. A city centre stadium offers the best transport connections for the whole city, whether trains, buses from Shore and Isthmus or ferries.

  27. Do stadiums provide positive public externalities, no.
    Is spending $500 million on a stadium as important as the Northwest Busway or Southeastern Busway or help for the homeless for example, not really.
    Would a stadium be a wise use of CBD land, again not really.
    Do stadiums need to be in the CBD to be popular, not all all.
    Do we have three other stadiums as well, yes.

    So the answer is why are we even asking this question, however if I was to build one it would be on that waste of space Avondale Racecourse, I would prefer a ton of apartments but I would prefer that land wasted rather than waterfront land.

    Some questions on other uses, could have other uses like why don’t the stadiums have more live local gigs there, or play movies like movies at the park, far out even hire a dj turn it into a club on the Friday nights with no games, allow people to use it as a church in non use times can you imagine at Eden Park, can I hear a amen, lets hear it lol. What else, shooting range could be cool sure people would pay to shoot at Eden Park, Police can use it as a range too. Wow actually so many uses really seems a waste.

        1. And let me guess, you like other things yourself, maybe theatre or art and still expect that to be subsidised as a public externality and not a private utility I bet. And btw, concerts at a Avondale racecourse area stadium? Get real, like Kingsland that is a residential area so there wouldn’t anything like that happening with the howls of protest from the local residents.

  28. I think next to Vector arena using the old railway station area. Need to have a roof and not be too big, or else it looks too empty for almost all of the games.

  29. Whilst I most definitely agree the existing stadia are second rate I’m not a fan of the waterfront stadium at all.
    For me it’s like the flag – I am not wedded to the current flag but not all all compelled by the alternative!
    My major objection to the waterfront stadium is its scale. no matter how nicely designed it would just be out of scale and would obliterate the waterfront.
    I’d only be slightly interested if it was an absolutely beautifully designed and executed piece of architecture – but that won’t happen in terms of budget.
    Eden Park isn’t great but I don’t think it’s that bad either.
    Just wait for the philistines to beat their chests!

  30. Trench Stanley St and put it on a car diet – two lanes only – to throttle the Gully motorway. Build stadium over it next to tennis centre which gets an upgrade and won’t be plagued by motor vehicle noise like now. Shut the port. Parnell Station can serve PT along with Link Bus. Could even call it Carlaw Park for old times sake.

  31. We need to send a fact finding mission to Dunedin, wait for the report on the huge losses run up by their new stadium and the enormous cost transferred to ratepayers and put the whole idea of a new stadium to bed.

    1. And you posted this before taking a nano second to think that maybe by selling the land of the current multiple stadia for residential and industrial development etc the new stadia, could be funded unlike Dunedin. The last time I was in Dunedin for RWC 2011, Carisbrook was still standing but given the demand for land in Auckland that wouldn’t be the case here. that land, especially the Eden park area would attract a good price.

      1. Sure, show your workings on how this funding might work, selling land at two stadiums, one in a residential location and one in an industrial are, paying back outstanding debt, funding the purchase of a large chunk of prime downtown land and build a world class stadium.

        I can’t see how that would be self funding but since you’ve clearly thought about this for more than a nanosecond you’ll be able to demonstrate how it would.

  32. Why is this tbe councils problem. These are all profit maikg commercial entertainment events. Its difficult to see the public good. Also, didnt we just sink several hundred million into Eden Park? What I dont understand is how the taxpayer and ratepayer sunk so much money into a privately run facility. They could have at least nationised it.

  33. Long term plan: Mt Smart is good for transport connections, amp it up, modernise etc (make future closer rail station perhaps), more industrial area. North Harbour one leave as is, modern good alternative North Shore one (crappy car centric place though). Rip out Mt Eden and convert to quality high rise housing or whatever. Build new smallish one “near” waterfront but not right on it, move/replace Vector (& leaky old Grand Central Apartments/old station!?) with it (ie build slightly to left /on top of it. Straighten southern rail line while at it so not such a slow crawl into Britomart (speeding up whole network).

  34. While I’m thinking about it, do we really need all of Alexandra Park, Ellerslie Racecourse AND Avondale Racecourse?

  35. It doesn’t strike me as very imaginative to put another stadium down. Apart from the fact that it would be very very redundant (the Vector Arena handles everything that isn’t rugby or cricket, and Eden Park is basically fine for everything else) it’s not exactly going to result in any of the good externalities that would be sought after. As far as massive, value-adding land uses go, I’d think about a new theme park – think big; build Jurassic Park. OK, maybe try Disney World Auckland (Te Ao Disney?) – massive gains in international tourism, hotels etc., runs all year, creates a boat load of jobs right in the city centre I reckon the Ports of Auckland site would be big enough, since you wouldn’t exactly need a massive carpark (run a shuttle/feature monorail from Britomart).

    Again, the Vector Arena is right next door; you’d have to justify putting a new stadium there by closing that, and maybe a couple of other stadia/arenas – it seems very unlikely that there are that many nights when they’re all being used at once…

  36. Pollen Island near the North Western motorway would be an excellent location for the stadium! Reclaim land and you could arrive there by car, rail or boat. Have a look at the reclaimed land in Monaco for an example of the potential to add to the City.

    1. Ironic that that’s where the port was proposed to be moved to.

      Isn’t Pollen “Island” a habitat these days?

      1. May be too tidal for a port. If the island was protected then reclaiming land next to it would be an amazing location for the stadium.

          1. It’s a marine reserve these days, you get in enough trouble taking a fish out of it let alone building a stadium on it.

  37. If the area behind Vector Stadium extending over the old rail platforms was used and the rail lowered under the new stadium this could be used as stabling as it is now and an events station when required. The current alignment from Parnell could be eased to increase speed around the slow turns currently behind Vector. This would be achieved by moving the current Stanley St rail bridge further east. The provision of post events facilities around The Strand would follow. The only major problem would be the protection of the remaining ‘Heritage’ concrete railway platform shelters 🙂 .

    1. Good idea – better than being on the waterfront, and gets rid of that ridiculously tight screeching slow curve around Vector (the original alignment from the 1860s parallel to Beach Road was far better – NZ must be the only country in the world where railway alignment standards have gone backwards since the 1860s (imagine if the same was true for roads …)).

  38. Eden Park is fine as it is, although the city needs one decent 25000 rectangular stadium as well (like Red Bull Arena in NY), for the Blues, Warriors, football, concerts, etc. North Harbour and Mt Smart don’t cut it. Alexandra Park and Ellerslie Racecourse are huge, well-located sites and I’d like to see them both developed into housing, with part of one of them being the location for the new stadium.

  39. Eden Park is not a terrible ground. It’s been made worse as generation after generation have reduced the boundary length. The Eden Park wicket is a good one, it’s full of history (something people who do not understand sport may not understand), and it provides a good viewing experience. It’s the ground where we claimed the cup in 87 and 2011. Where HADLEE, HADLEE echoed off the bleachers. Where Greatbatch tonked Marshall over extra cover for six.

    Keep the Eden Park. Sports can’t be reduced to 1s and 0s like a few people want

    1. I love sports and sports history too but history shouldn’t block something from changing especially if the ground is no longer top class. It’s very rare these days to see multi-sport use of stadiums where the sports are so different even in the US Oakland’s stadium is the only one to have multiple pro sports played at it and it’s one of the crappiest sports arenas in North America. Why is it so rare? because sports organisations these days understand that ground atmosphere is important and therefore they need to have the stadium in the shape which best suits a great viewing experience for their sport’s fans. Dual-purpose football and other code stadia do not cut it these days outside AFL and cricket bowl shape grounds. I hate the fact that after being to a stadium like San Siro where I was practically right above the sideline I have to have a crappy rugby viewing experience 20-30m further back from the action than need be because someone thought we could do both rugby and cricket at one ground.

      See that’s part of the reason for the change. If the stadium refurbishment had been done properly for 2011 – ie as a football code only stadium with seating close to the sidelines and fully enclosed around the ends etc meaning all or almost all seats under cover I wouldn’t agitate so much for a change. but they stuffed up the refurbishment and the place is still 2nd rate.

  40. in 10 to 20 years, a new stadium close to the waterfront and City centre could be part of the catalyst for port relocation and opening up the waterfront. If a new 35,000 to 45,000 seat stadium was built between Quay St and the Triangle shaped wharf on port land then the land to the east could become the new port and land/wharfs to the west opened up for commercial and residential development. The triangle wharf and all the waterfront could be opened up to the public. I can see this as a positive development that would create a new precinct in the city centre.
    This would also allow Mt Smart and Eden Park stadiums to be closed and redeveloped or other purposes.

  41. Auckland has a very spatially constrained city centre, particularly since its naturally developing spread into inner suburbs was severed by the strangling noose of the sprawl era motorways. There simply are no big chunks of inner city land that don’t have more valuable uses.

    We are better off improving the transport links to the better existing stadia, and in Eden Park’s case this is happening with CRL and LRT. Run well, combined with bus and walk up, it is hard to see this not working for even the biggest events we occassionally have. Apparently ATEED don’t believe they can achieve this…. Really?

    1. Agree. Also in addition to your transport modes Eden Park is not the worst place to drive to if you are reasonably mobile. I usually park up near the Mt Eden shops and enjoy the ambiance of the walk down with the fans, and also walking past all the cars going nowhere on the way back to my car, which is beyond the congestion.

      I think Eden Park is fine, with one exception, it can’t host concerts. The only way a 50,000 seat stadium will go close to being viable in NZ is being able to host concerts.

    2. Agreed. Eden Park’s closest entrance is something like a 200-250m walk from Kingsland station, even a Captain Cook Wharf location is barely closer to Britomart. Eden Park’s biggest accessibility problem right now will as you say be remedied by the CRL making Kingsland so much closer to the CBD and cross town trains will make access more straight forward from the south. No need to block out waterfront with a new stadium at huge cost for a debatable increase in function, its time to move on with more important issues.

      1. Agree with this all, additionally would be helped by treating the walk up crowd (including those coming by train) as more important than the relatively few cars travelling down Sandringham Road when an event is on.

  42. Now that old rich dudes are in on it, maybe there’s been an evolutionary change, and today’s old male subconsciously wants to leave a giant prostate to be remembered by ….

  43. First of all, what’s wrong with Eden Park? instead of fixing the problem, some people just want to abdomen it? How many times a stadium in Auckland is over its capacity in a year? Isn’t that the whole point to get crowded? Why do we need to build a new one?

    The whole city centre has been built on a north-facing slope towards Waitemata Harbour! Sightlines towards the harbour can be obtained from many streets in the city centre. Blocking the physical and psychological flow and connections towards the harbour on the STREET level is a no-brainer. People who compare Auckland with other large cities around the world shall consider the geographic setup of each city and the locations of those stadiums in relation to the CITY CENTRE, not just for the sake of having a stadium. There are many great cities don’t have a stadium in the city centre.

    Auckland has other problems. They should be solved first. There is a waterfront plan. People should respect the professionals’ work before they commit to anything else. If there was no stadium planned in that plan, so be it! This is not a LEGO game when some structure can be easily detached from the base!!!

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