Ritzy corporate pavilion loses a storey

By Michael Dickison

Eden Park. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Eden Park. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The Rugby World Cup's top-class corporate pavilion at Eden Park has been slashed because of poor demand, losing its planned facade, its second storey and a third of its capacity.

A permit is also being sought to designate next month's Eden Park Bledisloe Cup match as an official trial for the World Cup to fill its temporary stands to capacity.

A consent application filed to the Rugby World Cup Authority, which has emergency powers to approve works for the tournament, is taking public submissions until July 20.

The Eden Park Pavilion was announced last year as an unrivalled luxury corporate hospitality venue, catering for up to 5000 people a match and 35,000 for the tournament.

David White, director of operations at Rugby Travel and Hospitality, said at the time that the pavilion was the culmination of three years of intensive planning.

"New Zealand has never before seen a purpose-built structure of this magnitude and quality."

Yesterday, he said the pavilion was being downgraded to a 3000-person capacity because there was less interest in top-class hospitality than expected.

More affordable hospitality was being provided in Eden Park's function rooms instead.

The pavilion would have the same high quality, and the structure had already been flown in from Europe to begin construction next week, he said.

"The experience is going to be exactly the same, with four-course fine dining and top-calibre facilities."

The pavilion will cost $7 million, down from $10 million for the two-storey structure.

The original structure had a street-side entryway with a facade and lighting.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 general manager of tournament services Nigel Cass said next month's Bledisloe Cup match would be a test for the stadium's World Cup layout and operations.

"With a month before the start of the tournament, it will give us ample time to review and refine our processes in time for kick-off on September 9," Mr Cass said.

Eden Park has consent to hold 11 World Cup-level matches at Eden Park this year.

Because two extra quarter-finals matches have been relocated to Eden Park from quake-hit Christchurch, it now needs an extra permit to have up to 62,000 spectators at next month's test match.

- NZ Herald

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