SKyCity has dramatically increased the scope of its planned Auckland convention centre, today announcing plans for a five star hotel and a 50 per cent increase in spending on the new project .
A 12-storey 300-room five-star Auckland hotel, new 6m wide pedestrian laneway to link Hobson St to Nelson St lined with shops and restaurants and additional 570 carparks has pushed the cost of SkyCity's convention centre plans up from $402 million to more than $500 million.
Nigel Morrison, chief executive, this morning announced a big expansion of the controversial project, where work is yet to start, resulting in the financial community calling it a sluggish deal so far.
Morrison said the business might even sell a smaller Federal St carpark opposite the Chow brothers' former brothel development site, to fund its much bigger deal, or join with other parties on the development.
The extra carparks will now result in 1350 carparks being developed, he said.
However, Morrison also said SkyCity did not want to sell that carpark building valued at $35 million, but now might consider joint ventures or partnership arrangements on the international convention centre, although any second party would need to bring more than just money to the table, he said.
Simon Jamieson, SkyCity's group general manager, told a press conference this morning the hotel was not yet named but would be 12 levels and built near the TVNZ end of the site, with the laneway running between that and the convention centre.
Morrison said the huge new hotel was needed not just for the convention centre but to meet accommodation demands in Auckland.
"The new five-star hotel and additional carparking are estimated to cost $170 million to $180 million," Morrison said.
SkyCity had already spent around $100 million on land purchases and other costs for the centre and would soon apply to Auckland Council to build it, linking the facility to existing SkyCity property via an airbridge over Hobson St, now clearly displayed in an artist's impression of the designs by Moller Architects and Warren and Mahoney.
Morrison released new Auckland images, as well some of plans for Adelaide where SkyCity is refurbishing the former historic railway station building as well as putting up a huge new glass tower to cope with extra demand.
The new Auckland images showed an aerial view of the centre with the SkyTower above, the hotel and convention centre from the ground level plaza, an external image of the new five-star hotel from Hobson St, the internal Hobson-Nelson laneway, the plenary area inside the centre and a cross-section view of the entire project.
Jamieson said SkyCity hoped its application to build the $500 million-plus project would not be notified, meaning no one could object and said the 12-level hotel was well within height limits.
"The council will determine if it will be notified or not. We believe it will be a consent that could be non-notified," Jamieson said.
Morrison said that application to build was imminent.
"We are intending to lodge an application for resource consent for the NZICC master plan by the fourth quarter of 2014," his presentation said.
"We have detailed planning and Auckland consenting processes to get through before we can commence the tendering process for the construction contract. Given this, we expect to execute a construction contract by the end of this financial year," he said, referring to the June 2015 financial year and indicating the contract to build could be around the middle of next year.
NZ International Convention Centre expansion:
• $170m-$180m extra costs from extra development
• Project now $500m+ (up from $402m)
• Extra 570 carparks to result in 1350 carparks
• New 300-room 12-level 5-star hotel at northern or waterfront end
• New Vulcan-lane style pedestrian Hobson St-Nelson St laneway
• Shops, bars, restaurants to line the side of that public walkway
• Huge expansion of SkyCity's convention centre plans, well before first sod turned