In the first of a new Herald series, we show you the $700 million-plus NZ International Convention Centre, its structures and shapes now clearly visible.
The new five-star hotel and the great exhibition hall is clearly visible at the centre being built in Auckland by Fletcher Construction for listed business SkyCity Entertainment Group and due to open next year and host its first huge conference in 2020.
It is to be five times larger than any convention spaces now available in New Zealand and is rising on a block bounded by Nelson, Hobson, Victoria and Wellesley streets, across Hobson St from the existing SkyCity properties.
Key numbers from SkyCity's convention centre web site:
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• 32,500sq m [or 3.2ha] of indoor floor space is being created;
• 3150 people will be able to attend a conference there;
• 4000 people will be able to go to one-off events there;
• During its construction, about 1000 jobs were created;
• $90m annual 'economic benefits to NZ' expected;
• 1327 new carparks created [beneath the centre];
• New laneway/dining area between Hobson St/Nelson St;
• First conference Tripartite colorectal meeting, 1200 delegates, 2020;
• New 300-room five-star hotel being built beside the centre.
The facade of the historic Berlei Building where underwear was made for decades is being retained. Above that now looms the convention centre's 8100sq m great exhibition hall, a vast indoor area so big that trucks will be able to drive in.
TVNZ and the historic Albion Hotel remain on the block, flanking either side of the centre.
The job hasn't been all smooth and Fletcher said earlier this year the $400m contract was now $700m. Last August, Graeme Stephens, SkyCity chief executive, expressed satisfaction with Fletcher Construction's progress, despite announcing last month that it was behind the original schedule.
Work started on the huge site before Christmas, 2015.