The concept of a downtown stadium is back in the news again, with new mayor Phil Goff proposing a site on the rail yards next to Vector Arena. It’s interesting that this keeps coming up, my theory is that the public are beginning to recognise the importance of well-located infrastructure and the value of centrality and good transport links. Perhaps a stadium is an easy focus for people to think about issues of location and accessibility?

In this post I wanted to explore a concept for how a stadium here might work, particularly from a transport and urban form perspective. Naturally this is a controversial topic so please bear with me and put issues like funding and whether we actually need a new stadium or not to one side. I’ll go on the record saying it’s unlikely to be an economically sound prospect, but let’s indulge ourselves a little and think what it could be like if it were.

So the Quay Park location. I think this site has three main things going for it for a stadium;

  • Location: It is located downtown, well just on the edge of downtown and walking distance from more or less everything the city has to offer. This includes a lot of hotel rooms, a lot of restaurants and bars, and indeed a hell of a lot of parking, most of which is highly underutilised outside of nine to five weekday times.
  • Acessibility: It is centrally located within the Auckland region, giving the best access from all over. In particular downtown is the centre of the regional transport system. All the motorways, the rail lines, the bus routes and ferries converge on downtown Auckland. Our transport system delivers about 100,000 people to central Auckland every morning, so the same system can easy handle 40,000 stadium patrons.
  • Existing land uses: Currently the old rail yards are underutilised land with the ability to actually construct a stadium there. There are few other pieces of land big enough anywhere in Auckland, let alone downtown where you can do all manner of sports games, events and concerts at any time. However right next door is the Vector Arena which has already set a precedent for what the Quay Park precinct might be all about.

A good site then, so on to the concept. What I’m proposing is a stadium sat just east of the Vector Arena and the old railway building. It would be a tight fit, requiring a rectangular field for football codes only (sorry cricket, but Western Springs looks great anyway) and a relatively compact full bowl to get in seating for 40,000+ people at maximum capacity. I like the concept of having two tiers of seating, with the lower level being used for smaller games and events and the upper only opened for blockbuster test matches. That way the place feels full and lively no matter the draw. The model shown in the photos is San Marmes Stadium in Bilbao, although I did shrink it slightly as San Marmes can support over 50,000 seated spectators.

stadium-test6

In addition to the new stadium I’d propose that the grand old railway building next door be re-purposed at the same time. Instead of student accommodation that wonderful building could be reconfigured into a small to medium size event space and function rooms. This would result in a sports and events precinct with three key facilities, the large open stadium, the medium size enclosed Vector Arena, and the smaller Old Railway event space.

Now there is of course the existing Quay Park rail junction, The Strand station and a stabling facility to deal with. My plan is to build the stadium over the junction triangle, with a large pedestrian concourse level around the three facilities on a deck over the rail lines. I suppose this would be the time to grade separate the junction too, presumably by keeping the eastern line at a lower level longer while the Parnell branch runs over the top as it does today. This way all the rail movements, together with servicing and truck access to the three buildings, would be tucked away underneath a broad pedestrian plaza stretching around the stadia and linking it to the surrounding streets.

One could walk to the stadium from Quay St or The Strand, but also on new lanes alongside Vector or the Railway Building, or down a new lane in between. These lanes could be filled with bars and eateries to serve the three event facilities and the general public. Working in some offices and even apartments in and around the precinct could be a good idea too, to get extra value out of the development even when there isn’t a game on. You could even consider having the outward facing sides of the stadium full of commercial space, with several floors of offices taking advantage of the north facing harbour views.

So on to the transport. Number one is the excellent walking connectivity the stadium precinct would have to downtown and the surrounding neighbourhoods, by virtue of the elevated concourse wrapping around the three buildings.

stadium-test-10-max

The second part of the transport concept would be the double road frontages, one on the north side to Quay St, and the other on the south side to The Strand. These two roads could be enhanced as boulevards to separate through traffic and local movements, potentially even separating a SH16 extension alongside the stadium. In any case, both of these road frontages could be staging areas for buses and coaches, taxis and VIP parking, as well as access to the undercroft loading docks and service areas. I don’t propose any general parking on site, for a start people can use any of the multitude of parking buildings in town no more than ten minutes away, and secondly spreading this traffic demand across the city is far better than concentrating it all in one peak.

Thirdly, the rail. I’m suggesting a new Quay Park railway station immediately east of the stadium, and directly linked to the pedestrian concourse at one end, and The Strand overbridge at the other. I think this could do with three broad island platforms with six tracks and there is room for something this size. Two of these tracks would be used as a regular stop on the Eastern Line to and from the city (which once the CRL is built, also runs through to the Southern Line). This gives regular access to nearby offices and apartments, and during an event at the stadium or Vector you can simply increase the Southern-Eastern line to peak frequency to move a lot of people to the site.

The next two tracks would be used for intercity services and regional express trains. With the main CRL line on the next platform over this would allow Quay Park to be the main rail terminal for trains from the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, without clogging up Britomart or the CRL. Naturally during big Rugby games these intercity platforms would be very busy also.

The final two tracks wouldn’t be used for regular trains, but they would be used during events to bring the Western and Onehunga lines in to Quay Park. I don’t propose diverting these lines via Quay Park routinely as that would add far too much time over them continuing to use the curve between Parnell and Britomart, but during events the extra access and capacity would be useful. These could be event only special trains from the West, or during events you could simply bounce the whole main line in and out like we do at Newmarket today.

stadium-test7

In summary, Quay Park station would be a new ‘metro’ stop on the main line between the east and the city/south all day, every day, while during events up to six platforms worth of trains could serve a huge amount of customers. According to a quick calculation such a station could accommodate sixty or seventy trains an hour in total, potentially enough to singlehandedly deliver a capacity crowd to the stadium in under an hour. There would also be a big benefit for operations on the CRL. Extra peak frequency could be staged from the station to pick up commuter crowds at Britomart, while the extra platforms could be used for interpeak stabling during the day on weekdays (assuming no blockbuster events happen 9-5 on work days).

All of this would be very expensive of course, with a lot of local opposition and competing schemes… and one must consider the value of this over simply working with the existing stadiums we have. However, it looks like the location would work well and the outcome would be great on several levels: a new premier stadium anchoring a combined sports and events precinct, a new rail station and terminal for local and intercity trains that also improves CRL operations, and fixed up local roads and streets to greatly enhances the Quay Park area and stitch it in between downtown and Parnell.

As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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149 comments

  1. The problem with our current stadiums is intergration. They’re all poorly located and stick out like white elephants. A common misconception about the waterfront stadium is that it’s just be an extra stadium. Instead it would replace Eden park, mt smart and north harbour, and the land from those 3 stadiums could be sold for better use such as housing.

  2. Sorry. Great transport accessibility or not, until we get back the 40 odd million we the Council “loaned” for RWC Eden Park upgrade, I don’t see why we should again spend an even bigger amount on limited benefits. Maybe we should also build another convention centre while we’re at it…

    1. Well it’s funny you mention that because Auckland is doing just that, right now they are building a new convention centre, in a better place, to replace and supplement the existing ones.

        1. In theory it would free up other land for more productive uses such as housing, Eden Park is prime residential land and possibly Mt Smart could be developed into industrial/commercial/residential accommodation. It would do more for housing and transport than not doing it. Also without looking at numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if the value of land at Eden Park, and the fact the new stadium wouldn’t be restricted in the number of events (revenue), the cost might even add up.

          My ideal would be to have a cricket oval at Victoria Park, and a Quay Park Rugby (other event) stadium. Not holding out any realistic hopes.

          1. +1 for Victoria Park for cricket. Central City, walking distance from CBD workers, and then walking distance back to restaurants, bars, transport etc. Western Springs might have existing terracing and ‘bowl’ like qualities etc but has much less of the benefits of public transport compared to Victoria Park. Imagine in the summer getting off work early and walking 10mins down to the ground to catch a day/night match or 20/20, or the final session of a days play in a test? fantastic

          2. Victoria park is a very well used local park, the only one in central Auckland. CLosing it off even some of the time for peole to watch sport (rather than actually do sport) is a silly idea.

          3. Victoria Park would be an excellent cricket ground, although slightly agree with what you are saying…Wynyard park will be opening at the end of Wynyard Quarter, wonder if this could be utilized for casual sport instead while the cricket and league club will return to cox’s bay? Best of both worlds.

  3. When we are struggling to fund the CRL and other already spoken for initiatives, an extra billion for a new Mayor’s legacy is a big NO.

      1. and I don’t think a stadium on the waterfront is a particularly good idea.

        Close to the city? Yes. On the waterfront? No.

        The space is simply too valuable. And I assume that if you were going to go to the hassle of moving the port then you’d want to replace it with something that was at least as valuable. I personally would rather have a port on the waterfront than a stadium.

        1. Totally agree Stu, I did support a waterfront stadium ten years ago but now agree with those that don’t want it on the waterfront. The old Carlaw park site was about as close to the CBD as would have been sensible to have a main stadium.

  4. Great idea – except the stadium needs a roof and I think 50,000 is the number. The costs are not as great as some make out as the other Auckland stadiums would be re-developed for other purposes such as housing etc. Selling Eden Park, Mt. Smart, and North Harbor probably accounts for 60% already of the costs plus the reduction in on-going maintenance of operating only 1 stadium rather than 3 all adds up – Eden park wants 250 million.
    On a side note, seeing where the Port is really re-enforces the idea that the Port has to move – sooner the better.

  5. Some great ideas Nick, although I agree with you that a new stadium here (or maybe anywhere) is unlikely to stack up!

    1. NZRU should definitely have to pay contributing costs, of course that would allow them to have their head office at this location. That also goes for the Warriors, NZF. Obviously their contribution gives them a ownership share which will provide them with profits in the long term.

    2. Care to explain why it’s a dog? The stadium itself in its current form is great. Nice wide concourse with a view of the playing surface, multiple entrance and exit points, good sight lines. The location is a bit rubbish but plenty of stadiums around the world are located in the suburbs like Twickenham. Personally, I don’t know why everyone raves about the Caketin.

      It’s biggest problem is the playing surface, too large to get the crowd close to the action in rectangular form and not large enough for cricket. Sadly if we ever want to host a Cricket World Cup again then that’s a compromise we’ll have to make. Assuming we build a new waterfront stadium for rugby and other rectangular sports and have a boutique venue for cricket at say Western Springs that is max capacity 20,000 then big cricket games like World Cup semi finals will bypass us. It would also really screw over NZ Cricket who often get more than that for an ODI.

      1. Yes certainly, it’s a terrible design for both Football and Cricket as you are a long way away for football matches and it is not a true oval for Cricket. The whole place looks likes it’s been tacked together (third world) i.e. it is not a purpose built ground. It is in the wrong location, which means this limits how many night time events can be held due to residents concerns (whinging) etc. We should of had a new purpose built football stadium along time ago in the CBD area. We now have Electric trains and the CRL is being built so yes dreams do come true, hopefully this one will as well. I don’t know why the NZRU just don’t build their own stadium anyway as they would then reap all of the gate take just like the Welsh Rugby Union with the Millennium Stadium and the English Rugby Union with Twickenham but of course they will expect the NZ public to pay due to their massive self entitlement! rant over

        1. Nothing wrong with the shape of Eden Park for cricket. Very few of the English test grounds are oval, Lords is a rectangle, and the Adelaide Oval ironically was more of a rectangle until it’s recent upgrade.

          1. It’s certainly different but that doesn’t make it bad, no side has ever cracked 400 there in an ODI so it can’t be that much of a joke. Means you are a bit closer to the pitch as a fan as well.

        1. Eden Park would be closer to the Kingsland station than *another* stadium in the Vector precinct is to Britomart unless, as noted, the trains can actually stop AT the station.

          I’ve never had a problem with Eden Park in terms of location – the shops in Kingsland may develop over time and frequent trains will make a big difference for getting back to the city.

          1. Stuff’s up the whole western line when there is an event on, kingsland bars are full 5min after the end of the game so have to walk to town, or wait up to an hour in line to get onto a train, or pay a fortune and fight for a taxi. At Quay park you are close to plenty of bars, restaurants, hotels and entertainment. Plus trains will be traveling in three directions (CRL) so for efficiency of moving people is unbeatable.

        2. I don’t like the Caketin’s design. Two entrances, claustrophobic concourse, you’re even further from the action for rugby than Eden Park, and access is via a wind and rain swept concrete wasteland. Sure it looks nice but operationally it has a lot of issues.

          1. Most importantly terrible pitch. Back in the day the Basin Reserve had good pace and bounce, Joel Garner couldn’t get one up on the Caketin nowadays

  6. Nice work Nick R! Yes the economics are inevitably challenging……but I wonder what the return on Eden Park would be in high density housing? Same with Albany/North Harbour? If New Zealand is to ever host a Commonwealth Games again, a waterfront stadium is the way to do it. Possibly some scope to retain Mt Smart or North Harbour as “practise stadium” which I imagine would be needed as part of a package to host the Commonwealth Games.

    In terms of the architecture, I think I would want to retain a sightline out from the stadium over the re-purposed wharves toward Rangitoto. I always felt that Trevor Mallard’s waterfront stadium was ditched too soon without a little more exploration of an alternative site such as proposed this time round.

    1. I did have a quick play around with the Eden Park site. My thinking is you keep the No.2 ground in place (maybe setup for one summer cricket oval and two winter rugby fields) and surround it with a ring of trees and landscaping. FIx up the old wooden stand a bit and maybe shape a grass terrace too. Put the park back into Eden Park, keep it for club rugby and cricket but open it up for local use as a ‘normal’ park.

      Then on the stadium site, well demolish the lot, ring the street frontages in three story terraced houses facing the villas, then step it up to mixed use apartments and commercial with a bit of ground level retail, going perhaps eight or ten stories in the very middle. Introduce back in a couple of streets and laneways and you have yourself an nice, dense, valuable community tucked into Mt Eden, super handy to Kingsland town centre and the train station. I’d be surprised if there wasnt a couple hundred million profit in it.

      1. Yes, 8 to 10 stories is basically what that south stand is already; so there can be no argument on heritage/height restrictions. I wonder what sort of size of population could be housed there? Duplicate this at North Harbour to build a decent sort of Northern regional centre – kinda like Parramatta in Sydney. I think that the potential housing benefits from relocating out of Eden Park and North Harbour/Albany to a waterfront stadium could become critical factors in the business case.

        Knowing and appreciating that such a thing is just a 5 minute job 😉 …any chance of some prelim urban development street grids along with estimates of population numbers that could be accommodated at Mt Eden and Albany?

        1. Quick back of the envelope for Eden Park:

          101,000m2 gross area, keeping the No.2 for sports and public park leaves 67,000m2 on stadium side for redevelopment.
          Allocate 50% to streets, infrastructure and open spaces, build on the other half. That leaves 33,500m2 for building coverage.
          Multiply that by an average of five storeys, 167,500m2 of gross floor area.
          Divide that 70/30 for habitable space vs. stairs, lifts, service areas you get 117,250m2.
          Divide that by 90m2 per apartment (mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms), you’d get about 1,300 apartments.
          Maybe 3,000 residents (ignoring commerical or retail for now). So a community about the size of Warkworth!

          1. Or another way to look at it. Land nearby is worth about $1,200 per m2, a large highly developable site might be worth a lot more. So two thirds of the Eden Park site would be worth maybe $80-$160m. Significant, but not enough to fund relocation.

          2. The stadium you drew inspiration from – St Marmes Stadium in Bilbao – cost 173 million Euros or approx. NZ$260 million if directly converted.
            Yes – NZ construction costs seem to be more than Spanish construction costs and this would impact on the cost of an NZ version.

            However – Eden Park land value = $80 to $160 million plus Albany land value at perhaps $50 to $100 million = $130 to $260 million land value of existing sites.
            For sure, there are a few wrinkles in there but the sums are not too outrageously apart!

            Of course, redevelopment of the waterfront site as a premier athletics venue for a prospective Commonwealth Games bid is an altogether different kettle of fish.

  7. Eden Park Trust Board needs to face reality and sell their land. With property prices in Auckland Eden Park’s land would be worth a small fortune. They can always use that big money to have a big say in a Quay Park stadium. Just shift all the memorabilia and statues to the new stadium. Problem solved regarding history and heritage. Hell, you can even move the actual grass there if you want.

    The location is absolutely perfect. Every single transport mode is within walking or a 5 minute train ride away at britomart – the ferries; the motorway system; the buses (including the northern busway); ALL the railway lines (west, south, east) converge on that spot. The CBD entertainment precinct is only a stone’s throw away. The CBD and Auckland harbour would be a spectacular backdrop to any event hosted there. It would be a great promotion for Auckland and New Zealand.

    What’s more is that all the major sporting entities – the warriors; the blues; football NZ. Key stakeholders are on board – new mayor; Ngati Whatua; the major sponsors are on board – e.g.: vodafone. This stadium WILL be used almost every single week of the year. There is no doubt about it.

  8. It is a shame Auckland has 4 stadiums and none of them are really adequate for anything.

    Prefer this location to the waterfront. One day cricket will be the difficult one to find a substitute for when they get 20,000+ people. Don’t think Western Springs would cope. I guess these size crowds only happen twice a year if that though.

    On a side note, the lack of atmosphere at Eden Park is not due to the stadium but the people who are in attendance. For One day cricket the atmosphere can be great. But again the stadium is not a good shape for cricket even.

    1. Nothing wrong with Eden Park for cricket (when there’s a decent crowd), cricket grounds around the world are all sorts of different shapes and sizes, the only thing that matters is how good the game is and whether it is fair, and Eden Park has hosted some thrillers recently.

      1. “when there’s a decent crowd” – that’s the rub. there normally isn’t. the rest of NZ has shown that boutique grounds with grass banking and capacities of no more than 10K are the most appropriate option for a population the size of ours. grounds get full for a decent game, and if they don’t get full..then it doesn’t feel like a concrete jungle. great for TV as its noisy, colourful, ‘intimate’ and picturesque which all adds to the ‘product’ that NZ cricket can use to its advantage. One day cricket is dying overall in favour of 20/20, so crowd requirements are generally less. even the two world cups we’ve had have been co-hosted with only 1 semi-final out of 4 in each of those tournaments being in Auckland. Do we really want to build/maintain something for a once every 25 year event? Rugby might have a better case for building in some capacity as it gets full houses for All Blacks games and the last world cup, but have you checked out a crowd at a Super Rugby game lately? hardly anyone there.

        You could also take a look at overseas for good examples – Juventus building a newer, smaller stadium with better atmosphere has brought back the crowds to the most supported club in Italy – its about being appropriate for the needs of the majority. Sadly, just don’t think Eden Park functions well enough for most events most of the time

        1. Agree with pretty much everything you say, I was responding specifically about the shape and size of the Eden Park surface, which I think gets unfairly criticised.

          Don’t agree 20/20 is replacing ODI crowds though, after a short novelty burst 20/20 international crowds in NZ have dropped away dramatically.

          1. ah, right, I just picked up on the crowd comment.

            the shape and size has been improved since they re-orientated the pitch block for the cricket to run in a different direction, as there seems (from TV anyway) to be less of a short boundary vs long boundary thing going on. there’s still the short boundaries in place of course, just not so much that ridiculous long one. however…I still don’t think it functions that well for cricket – yes other world grounds have some quirks (what about the slope at Lords) which is great for the richness of the history and tradition etc, just not convinced that Eden Parks quirks are worthy of keeping. And for Rugby it doesn’t really work either with large gaps between the crowd and the pitch, although still better than the CakeTin – which is rubbish for rugby (massive space between crowd and pitch), and cricket (boundaries all-round are right on the minimum length limits and therefore feels both tight and cavernous at the same time when there’s less than a full house in), and football (the gap between the crowd and pitch again). People seem to like Mt Smart because its local to them, but also because it actually functions as a league ground – appropriate size, crowd close to the pitch, and also presumably because it gets afternoon games as well (if only TV agreements would allow that for All Blacks games again, makes viewing great especially in the winter, but that’s another argument!) So if we were building an downtown stadium it should be focussed on the rugby/football codes and do them properly, cricket can find another alternative (Western Springs, Victoria Park, Eden Park no 2) so we don’t end up with a rubbish compromise again.

            As for 20/20..take your point. Prefer test cricket myself so I don’t really care about the other versions. But have definitely noticed how the shorter forms (either of them) seem like a more attractive product when played in smaller NZ grounds. Of course if we didn’t have a big ground we wouldn’t get those Grant Elliot moments…but then how often do they come along?

          2. Yes, hard to justify a big ground based on cricket crowds these days. It was great having Eden Park available for last years CWC, but it would be hard to justify keeping it for another 24 years just for that. I think we need to become more accepting of temporary facilities for major events as I imagine Western Springs would have space to put up some pretty decent temporary stands for a CWC. It’s pretty much what happened at Mt Smart for the 1990 Commonweath Games.

  9. Up front, I’m not a sports fan. Assuming that a waterfront stadium stacked up, you have to wonder what the impact would be during match days and with regard to scheduling… Sure we transport 100K each morning into the CBD, however those people are spread over the entire CBD and come over a period of several hours. How many people would the stadium need to seat to be viable, 40k, 50k, more? Eden Park has 50k capacity (ignoring the upgrades that it apparently needs).

    Getting people into the stadium per se is easy, however when you’re in the CBD why not have a look around, perhaps have a meal, make an event of it? Think back to RWC (50k expected, ref: https://www.languages.ac.nz/party-time-in-auckland-rugby-world-cup-2011-opening-night/) and Americas Cup celebrations – I’ve no idea how many actually attended but I do remember it being pretty crowded… Also, Vector Arena has 12k capacity (man, that’s small!) and it’s pretty busy at that end of town when they’ve a concert on – Imagine how busy it would be with 2-3 times that many, or when there’s a concert and a game? If even a small number of these people decided to entertain themselves in town, they’ll probably stick to what’s near by – Could the lower CBD handle this? With Kingsland being visibly constrained, people know when it’s going to be too busy and train/bus somewhere else. With the CBD… “Well, maybe the next block will have a restaurant with capacity, or perhaps the block after?”

    Also Vector, whilst busy, is an acceptable load as road closures (inevitable) and increased ped loads happen after standard business hours. If we were to have daytime games, 3x Vector capacity people in a constrained area with commerce proceeding? The doctors, the supermarkets, heavy traffic using the adjacent roads (for right or wrong)… The stadium would quickly go from being an edifice of provincial pride to a monument to unintended consequences as these and surrounding businesses struggle to conduct business due to congestion (people and/or cars, it matters not which). Of course, we could avoid this by “forcing” the port to use rail to move most/all heavy freight (3rd main, here we come!) and banning heavy vehicles from the area, then converting either Quay or Beach (preferably Quay) into a shared space – Which would be a pretty fantastic outcome in all seriousness!

    There’s more to it than getting people in and out, my concern would be what these people are doing when not in the stadium. Not being a sports fan, I couldn’t care less if we needed the stadium or not, however as a born-again JAFA I dislike the idea of anything that showed the city in a negative light.

    1. Actually that 100k is just commuters over two hours. Another 100k come at other times plus about 50k already live in the CBD. Across a normal weekday when uni is in session about 250,000 people set foot in the City Centre, although they’re not all there at the same time.

      I’m not a sports fan either, about the only time I set foot in stadiums is for concerts actually.

      I would say yes downtown Auckland does have the capacity for this, in fact it’s probably the only place in the country that does. There are more restaurants, bars and services concentrated in downtown Auckland than anywhere else in New Zealand.

      Just consider the alternative, 50,000 spectators in suburban sandringham, going to kingsland village. There is probably ten times the ability to handle crowds downtown than in Kingsland. I’d ventrure Fort St alone has more eateries than all of Kingsland. Kingsland does ok now, although not great with all the road closures and rail diversions and things, but if it can cope then downtown can thrive.

      1. Hi Nick – “although they’re not all there at the same time” is really the thrust of my concern. We know that Kingsland can handle 50k from Eden Park (actually more during the cup, 10k extra seats), if they have road closures and management. The difference between Kingsland and the CBD is that the CBD has only one extra street (Beach and Quay). At least one of those would need to have closures to ensure that people are able to move safely.

        Closures are fine outside of business hours, however my concern would be the doctors practice and other businesses being impaired, even though only for a few days a year.

        Remember when the RWC was on, they had walking routes from the CBD to Kingsland? Regardless of a stadium being built or not, the discussion around such is a good time to highlight that finding ones way from Britomart to Vector is confusing for out of towners, so we should take this opportunity to improve the signage and walkability. For those who can’t see that short trip being confusing, I used to work shifts and had a company car park off The Strand. On a Friday night I used to park there whilst dining in town. Almost every time there was a concert, I would see people looking lost and it wasn’t uncommon to be approached for directions – And this is by Tai Ping, so it should’ve been fairly obvious…

        The council really have stalled in their endeavor to make the route obvious and enjoyable, which is a shame because they’ve done so much already.

        1. If most of the people take public transport, I don’t see why there should be a need for road closures. The CRL will be in operation by the time any stadium is built here so the dispersal of people will not just focus on britomart but also Aotea and K Road stations (rail) and the station at the stadium itself. There will also be a big walk in crowd will be dispersed between Parnell (which will be a hugely popular before and after event destination) and the lower CBD.

        2. Why would there be any road closures at Quay Park. If there is nowhere to park down there, the only traffic would be local stuff and buses and coaches, which you don’t want to close out. Quay Park like that would have literally five times the public transport capacity of eden park, and 50,000 carparks within walking distance, not to mention most of the regions hotel room and a lot of apartments.

  10. Great idea Nick, I think it’s time will come, probably at a similar time to when the port is moved and also once decent use has been made of the expensive new southern stand at Eden Park, so maybe 20 years. One comment on stadium size though:

    I’d like to see a stadium designed for 40,000 but with allowance to add temporary seating up to 60,000, so it might need to be open ended, any less would effectively kill off our chance of hosting the RWC again, which would be disappointing.

      1. I think it’s possible to do both. It just requires a change in to current approach of building wrap-around stands and going back to the old style of big roofed stands on the sides and lower unroofed stands at the ends. This allows room for plenty of temporary seating to be added.

  11. My question is this – wouldn’t Eden Park be subject to heritage protection as a cultural artifact that’s been in operation since 1910 or so? And if not, why not?

    The argument is that Eden Park doesn’t performance as a stadium (which is not true – the pitch is good (was better) and the dimensions are odd, but they don’t distort sporting outcomes), but the same arguments could be used for any heritage building e.g. “that pa doesn’t work as a shelter/garden” “that villa isn’t as useful as a modern house” or “that castle doesn’t meet modern earthquake and insulation requirements.” In those cases, however, we appreciate there is a separate cultural value that deserves consideration.

    We made a huge mistake with Carlaw Park, so I think it behoves us to be cautious here. Heritage accretes over time, so maybe the price of a few dollars now is to think back in 2500AD and wish we had kept those parts of our history we can’t regain (i.e. what if the Romans had knocked down the big C in 300AD?)

    Converting Victoria Park to a formal ground is also a bad idea. The joy of Vic Park is that it provides a venue for people to pop down at lunchtime to do some windsprints, play a game of 5-a-side, and so on. Convert it into a formal ground and where do people do their circuit at lunchtime on Wednesday? Less public space is seldom a good thing.

    1. They have succeeded with this with Hagley Park in Chch. The cricket ground is still open for the public to wander across outside of match use and there don’t seem to have been any problems, could do the same with Vic Park.

      1. But can you run on it with sprigs? Or could you do shuttles? I know groundsmen and they would not take kindly to people doing that to their manicured grounds.

        Public space is short in town – you aren’t allowed to play sports at Albert Park making Victoria Park the only place for a kick-around. Let’s not lose it.

          1. Well, as a former UoA student I can assure you that we were very clearly instructed that we were not allowed to play ball sports at Albert Park. Perhaps that was more a guideline.
            There is also the physical issue – there’s no flat ground at Albert Park

    2. The only thing that has been operating at eden park since 1910 is the drained swamp it sits on. By all means keep a sports field there. But the buildings date from the 1990s, or the 2010s.

      Cultural artefact maybe, heritage structure, no.

      Consider if we took your approach to all infrastructure, the railways would still run (or not) to the old terminal on Beach Rd, the airport would be a grass strip in Whenuapai, the port would be a timber jetty at the foot of Queen St, Victoria Park would be a mangrove swamp poisoned with industrial refuse, Mt Smart stadium would be a Maori village, etc

      1. I’m not saying all infrastructure. I’m saying Eden Park is as worthy of heritage protection as some drafty old Ponsonby villa. Now there may be some compromise whereby we can retain key parts of Eden Park’s cultural heritage i.e. the older stands, the ground itself, while repurposing some of the land. But there’s something Philistinic about knocking down a cultural artefact to build more houses. It reminds me of what happened in the Middle East, where plenty of castles e.g. Krak were “repurposed” by locals stealing their stonework for their own houses.

        Of course, you may not believe in heritage protection and that is actually fine by me – but I think it’s cognitively dissonant to believe in heritage and not believe in protecting Eden Park. Hell, Paddy putting Marshall into the west stand in 92 is reason enough for me to want the place put in cotton wool for eternity

        1. Well I’m not actually hugely of so called “heritage protection”. There is a difference between heritage, historic, old, and popular, and I think it gets all lumped together and bandied about if favour of some poor outcomes. Drafty old Ponsonby villas for example, I see no reason to maintain them as drafty or old, or orginial. Lovely houses, if you’ve fully restored the exterior, insulated, re-plumbed, re-wired, changed the layout, built a deck on the back etc etc.

          Personally I’m in the process of relocating, modifying and improving a 1920s bungalow. I love the house but have no pretenses on keeping it ‘historic’. Doesn’t mean I want to bowl down the Civic Theatre either though. My view on Eden Park is neither the built form nor the location has any particular significance to its cultural or heritage value, so there isn’t any particular reason to maintain the new stadium there. Hence my suggestion to keep a club facility and some of the elements for local community use, but relocate the national stadium. Clearly they had no qualms about demolishing the old south stand to build the current one.

          At the end of the day I guess it boils down to the fact that I can see the value in a stadium, but no that particular set of stadium buildings in that place.

  12. The big problem I can see is it doesn’t demolish the old railway station. Knocking that eyesore down would improve the area immensely.

  13. Good post Nick, raising some good debate. I think a CBD stadium is a great idea – of course precisely where, how, and when are huge questions.

    Not sure there is quite enough room where you show it…a stadium of that size needs a good amount of external concourse around it.

    The problem with Mallard’s stadium was that it used a stadium for the visuals from a completely different context – the Allianz Arena in Munich which is located 10km out of the centre of Munich in an industrial park next to a motorway. Any stadium on (or near) Auckland’s waterfront needs to respond to the completely unique and spectacular waterfront context.

    A more appropriate design could have had an open end, or lower ends which allow spectacular views out of the stadium during events over the harbour. This caused a lot of people to oppose it due its insensitive design (not that it had been designed, but they missed a huge opportunity to show a more relevant and stunning example).

    There are some spectacular waterfront stadiums around the world now, including some built in South Korea for the 1998 World Cup that speak far more of their context, shaped like sails or fishing hooks. I understand Vancouver’s False Creek stadium is possibly the most photo-graphed building in Canada – so a stadium need not be seen as a visual eyesore, rather the opposite – it can be a stunning addition to the skyline and waterfront if designed properly.

    The Vancouver stadium is also excellent in having two tiers of seating (as Nick refers to) – with the upper one screened off by “flags” so that it reads as a much smaller stadium when the flags are out and the upper ring is closed. It’s very effective.

    If the Port were to ever move, then a well designed stadium could be incorporated into a new piece of urban fabric, with all the supporting infrastructure such as circulation, bars and restaurants, associated office and conference space, to ensure it wasn’t just a white elephant used 30 times a year.

    1. Agree on that, and I’ll note I picked the model of that Bilbao stadium because it was about the right size and shape, not particularly wedded to the design though. I’ve been toying with a design based around a traditional Maori Kete basket actually, something where the stadium would be covered in broad woven timber cladding that wraps around the sides and forms the roof. I got interested in this when I realised these baskets typically have a rectangular base (i.e. like a rugby field) but flare out to an oval at the top, before rolling over into a bit of ‘roof’. Seems a good form for the stadium, a bit like Beijings Birds Nest but more kiwi. Anyway, just thinking out loud there.

  14. I think it’s a good idea, worth looking into. Kicker will be what happens to Eden Park? I assume it’ll have to pack-up, sell off the land, and presumably pay back it’s debts.

  15. It is hard to ignore the funding part of things but if someone gave us the money I think it would be good. I like the idea of having multiple different venues there, because there is something happening there most days…making the area a destination rather than the current desolation. But I think it would benefit from a third line from Otahuhu north to the eastern line junction to allow the new third platform to be used. Then you could run a service from Otahuhu to the Quay Street station. At least it would use the infra-structure and allow very high frequency services to the Panmure and Otahuhu bus/rail transfer stations. Having a nice second central station would be useful and would this replace the plans for a Mt Smart station development?
    If I understand it this stadium would be used for football, league and rugby? Plus some special events (large concerts). A central city location does allow us to use our investment in CRL/ rail/ northern busway potential further (kinda like all those motorway projects to help us unlock the potential of the CMJ project etc). Could the Cloud be used more as an entertainment venue and perhaps Captain cook wharf could be redeveloped as an entertainment/street food area?
    But if we had to pay for it and someone said we had a spare $1 billion to spend, I can think of other infra-structure projects that would be better value. Also can you really re-purpose Mt Smart, if my memory serves me correctly it is built on an old landfill and therefore might have geotech/LFG issues that a developer would have to deal with. I doubt you would get much for the land if that is the case. Also would there be howls of protest from people in the north shore about demolishing the Albany Stadium, especially if there is a lack of other development on the shore. Personally I think demolishing the Albany stadium and putting apartments on the site is a great idea, which we should do regardless (especially after the extension of the bus way to Albany planned for around 2020-2022 timeframe). (side question – is there enough capacity on the northern busway for a large residential development there or is it nearing capacity and light rail is required).
    Alternatively, you could spend the money on building world class apartments on the Quay Street Stadium site, doing pretty much as you propose with a Quay street station.

  16. Personally I question why we need a better Sport Stadium, do these stadiums make a profit not really, do they draw crowds most of the time not really, are they used more than a few nights a year not really, do they have positive externalities not really, you can’t say sitting watching people move with a beer and a battered hot dog is great for the public health, you could say they inspire people to exercise, but wouldn’t investing the money in sport programs, parks, cycle lanes etc. be more way more effective.

    I’d bulldoze Eden Park as well, make it Town Centre Zone making Kingsland Town Centre Larger. Without constant public subsidies Eden Park would go under so we can get the land at a bargain.

    Just have the rugby/soccer at Mt Smart, and the Cricket at Western Springs, the fact is public funds are scarce, and about 100 things sit higher on the list.

    Personally I think we have much more serious issues needing funding than this, though if we were to do it I do like Nick’s design.

    1. I think stadiums a very beneficial to those who follow the sports or bands that use them, but have little value for others, much like performing arts theatres. I agree this shouldn’t be a significant sink of public funds. Stadia can actually break even – I believe this is the case for Westpac in Wellington, however it depends on construction costs and how many events are run. Eden Park falls over on the latter as it can’t host concerts. Depending on construction costs a CBD stadium may well be able to break even, but it’s a big risk for ratepayers to be taking on.

      1. Wellington ratepayers have been paying a “stadium levy” on every rates bill ever since the Cake-Tin was built in 1999. Apparently this will stop in 2018, but that will have been nearly 20 years of involuntary donations from everyone’s bank accounts.

        1. Thanks for the clarification. The ‘break-even’ must be after the stadium levy has been accounted for, which isn’t really a ‘break-even’!

          It’s likely a stadium in Auckland will be able to get more big events purely due to population size, but I suspect the construction costs will be huge compared to Wellington, especially if it is elevated over train tracks.

          1. Fiddling around in sketchup I think it would be more a case of the rail lines pass around/ through the bottom of the stands rather than under the whole stadium, but yes anything on that site would be very expensive.

    2. The big reason Eden Park struggles to break even is actually cause they are limited to the amount of events they are allowed. Thanks to the residents that moved in pushing for restrictions, even though they knew they were moving in by NZ’s biggest and most international stadium! That problem can only be solved by moving the stadium in the current political environment. I have no doubt having a stadium down at Quay would support itself, without taking into account the wider city benefits. However the initial costs are high and someone needs to fund these.

      1. And the apartments that are already there/being built would be any different from Mt Eden how? Seriously, the Beach Road area is essentially a residential area as it is. How long until you get noise complaints from residents and a limited event schedule? You’d have to fix the problem that Eden Park has now, just in a new place and after spending a billion dollars.

        1. I’m not sure if its the council, or the type of people in apartments/inner city living, but CBD concerts and events are not restricted at the moment at Vector, Aotea Square, The Cloud/Shed 10. So from what we have to base off, it’s not going to be a problem. But your right on the risk.

          I think people in the city expect it as part of living in the city, where for some reason not when moving in near our national stadium!

    3. Sports stadia have special value to politicians. The Caesars used bread and circuses to keep the mob on side, now it is sports venues.

  17. One of the big issue for Auckland to solve is the current event venues like vector arena, the cloud and viaduct event center have low utilization during weekdays.

    At the moment what I am seeing is the venue manager try to markup the venue hiring price very high so that most mid to small event organizer found it economically infeasible to organize event there.

    Even large organizer found it expensive and have to charge visitor $10-30 for admission and most of the admission goes to the venue hire cost.

    That would makes free events impossible. For example the Cloud always charge $10 admission otherwise they can’t pay the venue hiring.

    The venue management see no incentive to bump up utilization. Adding more events creates more work for them and they don’t get paid more.

    Shall the price of event venue hiring drop?
    Shall the venue manager given utilization KPI that has bonus incentives?

  18. We certainly need a good central football stadium with a good atmosphere. We should learn from Wellington’s mistakes. The Cake Tin was great when it started but now it can never be filled. Its oval shape (for cricket and AFL!) means that rugby/league/football spectators are too far from the action. And those yellow seats really show up when the stadium is near empty, as it always is. Many Wellingtonians dream that a run-away train will hit it and it can be replaced by a 20,000-seater rectangular stadium.

    I’d be sorry to see Mt Smart go, though – that place has history too.

    1. That Eden Park is on the verge of bankruptcy and the Warriors are the only thing keeping Mt Smart going as they are paying for the maintenance. Eden Park owes the council a huge amount of money for the upgrades for the 2011 RWC and has no way of paying it back.

        1. Are you talking morally (in your view) or contractually, if I’m not mistaken it’s Eden Parks debt, as that was actually part of the deal they agreed to so they could retain operating rights. The other option which if I’m not mistaken, NZRU supported, was the waterfront stadium. I do not believe the NZRU has any contractual debts to the council.

          Eden Park ran a huge campaign to retain their stadium as our international showpiece promising they could make it work with the required loans and government contributions. However at the same time I don’t fully blame their situation as the residences have pressured the council in putting unfair restrictions on the Park which limits there financial ability.

          1. Interesting as it wasn’t their decision to upgrade Eden Park. Or is it a ‘they are rich so they can afford it’ mentality?

        2. On the funding side, I am pretty sure that I read that Eric Watson said that the Warriors would put up their share of the money if the NZRU and council also opened their wallets. A new stadium could be viable if you read my earlier post around the council’s stadium strategy and the current lease arrangements.

  19. Another point I see from the Cloud / Shed is it is poorly designed to organize successful event there.

    1. First is the expensive venue hire cost, which transfer to the customer.
    $10 admission per person makes free event impossible.

    2. Second is expensive commuting for a family.
    A family of four would requires a purchase of four AT Hop fares. Which could be $20 dollars depending where they travel from. Parking in city is also expensive.

    3. Third is the cloud is small
    The cloud itself is small compare to ASB Showgrounds, which long aspect ratio that makes a large expo impossible.

    5. The connection between Shed and the Cloud is uninviting.
    In theory events can hire both Cloud and Shed to create a larger more attractive event.
    However in practice the flow is uninviting. For example there are level difference, a few road blocks on the way, rough concrete floor, very windy, and lack of shelter.

    4. The Shed has no renovation
    The shed has poor lighting, dark, and raw. Don’t be confused with industrial retro style to raw. Industrial retro has elements of raw but also elements of modem in harmony.
    The poor renovation making most events looks cheap unless they spend a fortune decorating.

    1. Pricing wise agree, too expensive.

      Otherwise totally disagree, there have been plenty of successful events/markets here, although reno’s are not the best, it suits the shed location and style. Transport and accessibility is actually one of the best for any event location unless you a married to your car.

      Also we need spaces for different sized events, every space does not need to be a massive boat show sized event!

      Also the level difference doesn’t seem to be a problem at the ASB showgrounds as per your example.

      The key is making it affordable and to be honest the cloud is just plan ugly, I would hold a event at Shed 10, but not at the cloud for image reasons.

  20. By 2028 Eden Park will need major works to keep it open – and they have no money – and the Warriors lease on Mount Smart will be up for renewal. How about a sensible discussion around the following options from 2029 onwards;

    1) Upgrading Western Springs so it can cater for all major cricket matches played in Auckland – the cost could be covered by the council but recouped by a fair lease to the cricket people (and by fair leases I mean ones which enable the council to maintain the stadium and pay back the interest and make a return on its investment) – lots of cricket grounds around the world have quite modest capacities which can be doubled for major fixtures
    2) Building a rectangular city centre stadium of 50,000 seats – it could be designed to allow upper tiers to be opened as and when required – the cost should be covered by the council but recouped by fair leases to the Blues, the NZRFU, the NZRL and the Warriors, plus one-off hires for football and concerts
    3) Eden Park to be redeveloped to allow the Eden Park Trust to allow them to pay back the council what it owes – or hands the site over to the council in leiu of its debt – and the whole site is redeveloped into commercial, retail and housing etc with a boutique ground with 2,000 seats and a capacity of 5,000 including the banks and terraces for Auckland rugby (with Auckland rugby paying a fair lease)
    4) Mount Smart to be sold off/developed into housing etc by the council in 2029-30
    5) QBE is sold off/developed by the council and Onewa Domain – or a similar club ground – is developed into a boutique ground with 2,000 seats and a capacity of 5,000 including the banks and terraces for North Harbour rugby (cost should be covered by the council but recouped by fair a lease to North Harbour and any other tenants) If Auckland or North Harbour rugby ever need a bigger stadium for a game they can shift it to the downtown stadium.

    1. Upgrading Western Springs… I honestly can’t see that happening due to the vocal local yokels. Look at the poor speedway (ok, Onehunga is a better location) – Noise restrictions and lots of pops vox the next day…

      I’m actually amazed that the ACDC concert (fantastic concert, BTW) didn’t have more angry people looking to vent to the media.

      The other thing – Something that has bothered me for a long time, transport – Public transport to Western Springs isn’t great to be fair. The whole area grinds to a halt when the Pasifica festival is on and during the ACDC concert (the only one I’ve been to at that site) people had to walk into Grey Lyn for transport home. Not a big deal for able bodied persons, but for mobility impaired, the idea of being excluded because of your impairment isn’t great.

      Otherwise, yeah… Agree on other points.

      1. Yeah, the downside of Western Springs is the transport. If you were looking at option near a train station there’s Colin Maiden Park, which has had 6,000+ on grass banks, and could surely fit 10,000+ with seating. 20,000 would be a stretch perhaps but do-able. On the other hand it’s a long way from a motorway. I agree Victoria Park should remain as a park. Where else in the central isthmus could a cricket ground go? Chamberlain Park golf course? Bit of a walk to Baldwin Ave train station. How about in the middle of Ellerslie Racecourse? Motorway + arterials + Greenlane train station right there. Or just keep it at Eden Park no 2 ground with a bit of a tweak and some new stands.

        Love the Quay Park footie ground idea.

        1. This is interesting, why not a international cricket ground at Eden Park, but more aligned with the Sandringham Rd frontage with the stadium behind redeveloped. There is a lot of space there if you only want one oval and a smallish amount of stands.

          1. Yes, convert the No. 2 Oval into a proper international-standard cricket ground, with adequate (and expandable) capacity; that’s a much better idea for cricket than Western Springs imo, and that way there would still be an “Eden Park” at the redeveloped “Eden Park Residences” (or whatever the medium-high density mixed-use development on the former stadium site would be called), but for cricket only (as it originally was, btw). There are other parks suitable for local club and recreational rugby grounds (e.g., Nixon Park, Fowlds Park, Gribblehirst Park, Taylors Park, Potters Park, Warren Freer Park, all reasonably nearby).

            The Quay Park location is better than the proposed Kings Wharf/Waterfront location (but the site might be a bit constrained, as mentioned by others elsewhere, modern stadia are supposed to have concentric rings of access/egress and circulation areas outside the structure – this could possibly be improved by realigning Quay Street northwards and The Strand southwards?). Of course, the stadium can be a destination 24/7/365 with museums, theatres, cinemas, convention spaces, hotels, offices, shops, apartments, gyms, pools, bars, restaurants, etc., etc. incorporated into and around the structure.

        2. I think the idea of having it at Victoria park would be patronage, a lot of cricket lovers work and study in the city, and test match cricket in all its purity is 5 day’s worth. It would pay for itself having it in town with people whipping in to watch the game live in between work times instead of going home watching on tv. Have it outside the CBD you dont get that opportunistic crowd.

          The other thing is people will happily head to the game with the connivance of town, justifying staying the whole day while also taking in and spending money at restaurants, cafes, bars…have it at the other locations you are not making the most commercial advantage from it. Not that it wont work, but it would be very New Age Auckland (sport and culture), having it at Vic park.

  21. Good post Nick R, although FWIW I’m 100% opposed to a new Waterfront stadium.
    Notwithstanding your caveat in paragraph two, let me put on my Kiljoy hat and take a reality check:
    Ratepayers are facing a steady series of rates increases in the next many years to pay for the CRL and other infrastructure essentials and won’t put their hand up for another billion on a new stadium. Goff may be happy to fly a kite now but no future Auckland politician is going to take it on.

    This will leave it’s backers to follow the Team NZ model and spin their way to finding support for the project but this time using all that port land currently used by containers, because hey it’s just sitting there now that we have told the Port to move out. [Yes, I’m being optimistic on that one] Auckland ratepayers provide the space and pay for its upkeep and the government (because the backers have convinced both main parties to back a ‘National Stadium’ ahead of the 2026 election) pays for the build. Oh wait, Aucklanders still can’t buy a house – so maybe not.

    By the time the dust has settled on Eden Park (Eden Park Trust Board go to court arguing Council has no right to make a call for millions advanced over the years, that the loan was open ended, you can’t just take Eden Park, case settled out of court after many years with either a confidential payment to EPTB or EPTB members made members of Auckland Stadium Trust Board) and the cost of demolishing the stadium has been factored in… well not really much left to subsidise the stadium cost.

    Add that to common sense telling us that what will cost $1b today will cost $2b by the time it’s finished all adds up to… never gonna happen.

    But since we’re all flying kites today: why don’t we build it in Manukau next to the Event Centre? It’s close to the train station, close to the motorway interchange (come in Hamilton!) and close to the Airport (come in Christchurch/Wellington/Australia!). Granted there’s no payoff for ‘downtown bars and eateries’ but so what? Why can’t South Auckland share in the spoils? As for the idea that the bulk of visitors will stay in hotels in the CBD again I say so what? I’ve been to many concerts in stadiums overseas where I’ve had to travel to the venue from my central city hotel. It’s not hard and besides, Auckland will have it’s world class PT system in place by then.

    1. The reason to not build a new stadium in Manukau is the same reason that Albany stadium is a failure, its miles away from most of Auckland. The centre is the logical place for a regional facility becuase it is, well, in the centre. The centre is by definition the place that is closest to everywhere else.

      Melbourne tried the outer suburban model with their bespoke giant AFL stadium, stuck it in the southeastern suburbs. The thing struggled for a decade or so before they closed it an went back to the MCG, and built another stadium on the other side of downtown. Turns out 80% of Melbourne didn’t like having to go to the other side of the region to get to the stands.

      1. True – I guess I’m just thinking 50 years ahead. When Auckland and Hamilton have spread to meet in Pokeno (like Tokyo and Yokohama). This stadium won’t open until 2030 at the earliest so I wonder what Auckland will look like then?
        BTW the fact that Melbourne built a new bespoke stadium that almost instantly became a white(ish) elephant doesn’t exactly fill me with hope that our council will get it right.

        1. Well if you look at where Melbourne put its new 150,000 seater (!) maybe you can see the problem: https://goo.gl/maps/TRMcZrM2VQE2

          …and if our urban area sprawls to Pokeno and Hamilton, then the train is a very easy way to bring people in. The key advatage of Quay Park is its proximity to all rail lines and other main transport links, not just the southern.

      2. Adelaide have had the same experience. The SANFL abandoned their showpiece stadium in Port Adelaide favour of a refurbished Adelaide Oval right in the middle of town. The move has been extremely popular with fans. Now Perth is building a new 70k stadium at Burswood, on the Swan River. If you need a new stadium it has to be at the centre of the entertainment and transport networks- everybody can see that.

    2. This is something I think needs to be challenged right at the outset. Who says that a Quay Park stadium next to Vector Arena is going to cost $1 billion? That was the projected cost of the 2006 waterfront stadium on the actual water. It shouldn’t be taken as gospel truth that Quay Park venue would cost $1 billion. Quay Park is actually on real dry land. Not over the water. I wouldn’t mind seeing actual projected costs of a stadium on this 2016 location next to Vector Arena.

      1. It is on reclaimed land, foundations literally under the water table, and from construction experience land is far from ‘dry’. Pricing would not be as excessive as the last proposal for a number of factors but it would need some pretty extensive pilling, similar to what would of been needed for the waterfront. One advantage, not needing barge. One disadvantage, working around existing operating rail network.

        1. Thanks for the geological insight into that area. Fair enough. So I take it from your comments that it is likely to still be quite expensive but not as expensive as the 2006 proposed stadium of $1 billion?

    3. The land cost will easily be meet in this location, remembering from a developers stand point, it is very hard to find such large parcels of land so close to town, and when buying such large parcels so close to town demolition costs always going to be factored into construction. Yes this affects prices and in the end what developer will pay for it, but would be very surprised if it didn’t at least reach this (keeping in mind earthworks are minimal on reasonably flat sites). Considering the location and amount of land I thought this would be very attractive for helping the current housing affordability (which is still currently more affordable than the 80’s if you can muster 20% deposit).

      1. Wow, a lot of comments on this one. I think I started throwing $1 billion around and thinking about it it might be high. Vector arena cost $80 million but this site is more difficult to build on (rail yards and problems with electrified lines). The stadium is also much bigger plus there is large concourse, land prices are significantly higher and there are rail stations etc.It is not a cheap proposal.

  22. Can I just say that the programme Nick outlines here for capping the rail yards and building above also works with things other than a stadium. A full mixed use development for example, complete with new station….

    1. This is true, but harder to do if you need to introduce a fine grained street grid and manage across multiple developments and owners. And possibly less consistent with the existing arena and proximity to the port.

        1. I do like Nick R’s plan (although I don’t want the stadium) but I like Patrick’s suggestion as well. How about a CAR FREE neighbourhood of high rise affordable housing instead? Train station below (to service Vector Arena and local residents) and eateries at plaza level, with space in between the buildings for a few parklets and to walk and cycle. Rich folk can buy the upper floors (to keep the development viable) and park their cars in commercial parking buildings a block away. Then you wouldn’t need a street grid, right?
          Place a car share depot on Quay St and then all residents are sorted…

    2. I personally think a intensive residential development at Eden Park (which stadium we are going to have to pay to upgrade/maintain), and a stadium in the CBD where we can make more commercial use of (no restrictions of events) making it more financially viable in the long term is better than a residential development by vector and upgrading and continuously subsidising (to a higher degree) the Eden Park Stadium. Personally I see this better commercially, culturally and in terms of efficiency. However this is personal opinion as I can also see the other-side of the debate.

  23. Council already have enough room at Mt Smart to build a new 40-50k stadium along similar lines to Lang Park in Brisbane. This still leaves enough room for the existing stadium to be converted to speedway / athletics.

    Penrose station is in a rubbish position and could be shifted to a location half way between Church St and Station Rd. This would enable the entire area to be better served by rail and also enable a far superior connection to Mt Smart.

    Local businesses and the timings of events usually enable local businesses to provide vast amounts of temporary parking. The area is close to the hub for SH1 and SH20.

  24. I think the Quay street location is ideal, some how the wasted railway station should be included with either function area, railway station, hotel etc. Being next to Vector arena allows for both venues to work together and for a big game the arena hold functions.

    The stadium must have a roof with up to 40,000 seats, but maybe there are innovative ways of adding 10,000 seats and then removing them so the stadium doesn’t look empty for smaller games. Also the idea of being able to remove/lift the roof and add extra capacity for a world cup could be explored in the design, as spending a one off $50m-100m when hosting a cup, is much cheaper than what we did in 2011.

    1. From memory you need 60,000 seats to host a RWC Final as per the IRB rules. So this really is the benchmark for any new stadium, using temporary seating or otherwise.

      Any smaller than that and the whole thing is a waste of time.

      1. Build it for a comfortable 45,000 seats. If you hold a huge event, reconfigure the seating for a ‘packed in’ mode for 60,000 where each person has 30% less space. Apparently new seat systems are designed for this, they sit with brackets on rails that can shift closer together or further apart along a row. Combine this with two or three tiers and you have a lot of flexibility.

        1. Whew finally got through all these comments over the weekend in bit & pieces. re the flexible seating: This could make a big difference to the plan this sticking point of 60,000. My thinking would be does it really matter about the extra 10,000 they can watch on TV or something or attend just different days matches etc, but if the rules can’t change,so be it. I also think we seriously shouldn’t have to cater for cricket at this type of venue or make it vastly improved elsewhere. Seems this is more of a niche sport, people absolutely love it or hate it in my experience. From the comments I’ve seen Western Springs is fine for this and quite flexible.

  25. My 2c worth:

    Those focusing on cost of build need to also take into account cost of maintenance on EP, which Goff estimates at RM250m in the next 15yrs. I think there might be a hefty interest bill from the upgrade in there also?

    A downtown stadium would have significantly higher earning potential compared to the restrictions on EP. If it had a roof, no comparison at all.

    40,000 capacity for a city fast approaching 2m is short-sighted. Instead, get innovative with two tiers. Auckland is going to need that 50,000 capacity more often in the coming years as it gets more events (see above). Don’t limit your thinking to what rugby crowds are right now. Think concerts, etc.

    I am cautious about getting rid of Albany and Mt Smart. they service growing “cities” of their own. There are some good plans for Albany while Manukau might need a knock down and rebuild.

    Whatever and wherever, make it accessible by a RTN or two.

  26. I think a new stadium at this location is a good idea.

    I think the seating / design though needs to be THREE, not two tiers.

    Have 2 tiers as permanent providing 25/30,000 and 45,000 respectively.
    Then have a 3rd ‘temporary’ tier that can push capacity to 65,000.
    Essentially this would be for ABs tests but also All Whites World Cup qualifiers, any future Commonwealth Games, RWCs and Australian Soccer WC bids etc.

    The 65,000 is not needed except for special events, but without it you have just built NZ out of major sporting opportunities; as Wellington only has 35,000 and Christchurch will very likely only have a 30-35,000 stadium too.

    Auckland and this site needs to be recognised as the ‘National’ stadium and funding and naming rights should appropriately reflect that.

    Where has temporary been done?
    Sydney Olympic stadium, Eden Park, AMI Addington.

    NZR should have to pay for the 3rd tier and they can then have exclusive rights to it as they need it. i.e. NZ Football pay them to use the 3rd tier for World Cup playoff qualifiers, AC / Govt do the same for Commonwealth Games bids etc.

    Auckland should just build the 2 tier 45.000 stadium and anytime there is a compliant / request for something bigger by NZR, AC can point to the plans and say “you build it – tier 3.”

    the easiest way to provide temporary seating is at the ends of the ground, effectively an open second level of 8.000 seats behind each goal line and perhaps another 4,000 seats added at pitch level – additional 20,000 as required.

    I like the concourse and Quay Park station development.

    1. To maximize use, stadium would need to be suitable for for the various shorter forms of cricket. Eden park is a bit small in that respect so would need more ground area. As the rugby area remains the same the temporary seating tier for the the likes of RWC would be essentially at ground level to bring spectators closer to the sidelines.
      I think Eden park is 3 tiers anyway on the new large southern stand.

      1. The rules for cricket ground dimensions mean that it cannot fit inside a good rugby ground (with stands as close to the field as possible/allowed, ~5m), so cricket really has to be at a different venue (unless some very clever reconfigurable seating can be worked out that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the seating bowl atmosphere and sight lines, etc., for rugby – a geometric puzzle that I haven’t been able to solve).

    2. A running track for athletics/Commonwealth Games needs an even bigger space (especially lengthwise, ~190m) than for cricket, so it wouldn’t fit with a rugby stadium where you want the stands to be a close to the field as possible (yes, Stade de France is reconfigurable for athletics and football/rugby, but I think the stands are still too far away in the configuration for football/rugby – Carlaw Park was awesome for being so close to the action on the field).

  27. For those interested in the “tight fit” of building within working railway lines, a useful example of a building site such as that envisioned in the article is the Emirates Stadium in London (home of the Arsenal football club). The building site they worked with is a remarkably similar “triangle” site as the one at Quay Park.

    Picture of Site: http://www.ite.org/meetings/2009TransOps/TO-ITE-508/TO01/TO01-20.jpg

    I understand (although could be wrong) that they built most of the stadium away from the site and simply moved in the pieces bit by bit and put it together.

    They also designed the shape of the stadium in an egg shape to get the most use out of the confined space. It is still a rectangular field though so settle down cricket fans lol

    1. heres a very good Youtube video which covers the site, design development and construction of the Arsenal stadium

      1. Living in the South East/London, I can confirm that this stadium is the worst of the new stadiums in London (Wembley, Emirates, Olympic Park)

        Very open and exposed, cold and poor sight lines from the upper seats but like the others, well located to public transport but again the worst of the three.

        Twickenham for PT makes the hell hole that is EP seem decent, no tube lines near the stadium, one railway station a semi decent walk away that really struggles with the stadium crowds and in a leafy, nimby part or London.

  28. Great post, I’m sure this could work somehow, haven’t had time to read all the comments yet, seems in any case there is a missing station where the old station was basically ironically.

  29. Good Post Nick. I think in time the CBD Stadium will happen, it might take the Blues and Warriors to win their comps to get the public behind the new stadium though.

    An alternative location to consider is the City Works Depot block, Wellesley, Nelson and Cook Streets. This is a slightly larger piece of land. Being in the side of a hill would hide some of the bulk of the structure. It is walking distance to the new Aotea station and will be on the Wellesley St Bus Corridor. It is across the Rd from the new convention centre, Sky City and plenty of accommodation and the Vic Park area is primed to be a great pre/post game hospitality precinct.

    1. Agree with Patrick, to good a site/location for better uses.

      Also it’s not actually a larger piece of land. While an easier square shape it is only 28,000m2. The Quay Park site is a more awkward triangle, but the core of it is about 35,000m2 and you could get as much as 60,000m2 depending on how much of the rail you want to cover and/or how many existing buildings you want to remove.

      1. Im still not sure if the Quay Park Site is big enough. Rectangular stadiums need rectangularish pieces of land and burying rail lines to get the extra space is a very expensive way to gain extra land.

        Stadiums the size were talking about here usually need around 200m in length and about 180m in width. Even if you knock down KFC/McDonalds and bury all the rail track and station underground it would be very hard to squeeze it in. However we do have clever designers in Auckland and I would be interested to see what they come up with.

        1. Well you are in luck, because the site is over 200m long and a little more than 180m wide. Don’t neglect to realise there is actually 50m between the edge of the rail station and The Strand. There is a lot of wasted space around there. Yes that includes knocking down KFC/Mc Donalds (‘m sure they’d be happy to relocate within the event precinct) but it doesn’t require burying the rail lines, you just build over and between them. Realign the eastern line a bit straighter along Quay St, build the pitch between and the stands over.

          Here is allianz arena (capacity 75,000) to scale on the site. Sure this is a tight squeeze but it fits between the roads and buildings, and is probably 50% bigger than we would need:

          http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Allianz-e1478209629749.png

          1. Ngati Whatua own the land, own the McDonalds lease, and are very keen on developing their land further to invest in Auckland and generate wealth for their tribe. There is no suggestion of seizing their land and more than a stadium on the port involves seizing the port land, why wouldn’t they stay the land owners and lease holders? See for example their bid for the national convention centre, more than happy to develop on the site: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10649548

          2. In reply to Sailor Boy, Ngati Whatua own all that land (including the shopping strip where KFC sit) and they are one of the key stakeholders that are in support of a Quay Park stadium.

            The KFC and other shops can just be incorporated into the stadium design and it can be accessed by the public during the week (making more money for the stadium).

        2. PBY Catalina – refer to the youtube clip above of what they did with the Emirates Stadium in London. Very similar triangular railway site to the Quay Park stadium site.

    2. “it might take the Blues and Warriors to win their comps to get the public behind the new stadium though.” – Soooo, you don’t think it will ever happen?

  30. Good idea. Auckland Olympic 2032 or 2036 may be more than 60,000 seats in the old railway yard and ready four stadiums in Auckland today. Avondale Racecourse inland use the Olympic facilities and Apartments buildings for athetic accommodation.

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