Plans are being drawn up to build a pop-up theatre in Aotea Square for events including the Apec conference in 2021 and beyond.
The Herald understands the theatre - if it goes ahead - could cost $10 million and be used for conference business, exhibitions and banquets for up to 1500 people. It would occupy part of the public square for between five and seven years.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said Apec will go ahead in Auckland, despite last month's fire that tore through SkyCity's new convention centre set to house the event.
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The likely unavailability of the new convention centre, SkyCity's existing conference space being leased to Weta Workshop and the All Blacks Experience, and Emirates Team New Zealand taking over the Viaduct Events Centre for six years leaves few options in Auckland for Apec and other major events.
The most likely options are the Aotea Centre and Auckland Town Hall, owned by Auckland Council and operated by Regional Facilities Auckland; and Auckland Museum.
Andrea Smith, the deputy secretary for Apec NZ, said the international convention centre continues to be the preferred venue to host the Apec leaders week in November 2021.
The Apec team is keeping in regular touch with SkyCity and waiting for their advice on the revised timeline for the build, she said.
Fletcher Building shareholders are looking for an update on the convention centre fire at the company's annual meeting in Auckland on Thursday.
Smith said events as complex as Apec involve contingency plans, including for venues.
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"Apec NZ is progressing the contingency plans for the Auckland venues for the Apec meetings. These involve discussions with multiple venues and are commercial-in-confidence," she said.
Apec is expected to bring some of the most powerful leaders in the world to Auckland, including US President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping. The event involves a year of hosting up to 20,000 people from December 2020 to November 2021.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff declined to say if he was aware of the Aotea Centre plans, saying only a temporary venue has not been considered by the governing body.
"I am unconvinced about building a structure in Aotea Square, which is a popular meeting space for Aucklanders," he said.
Goff said the Aotea Centre and Town Hall would be among the alternatives considered for Apec.
Regional Facilities chief executive Chris Brooks said consideration was being given to a temporary facility while the new SkyCity convention centre is unavailable.
"If a temporary structure is needed, RFA will look at options for what the best location for such a facility might be. It is too early to suggest what the cost of such a structure might be and how this cost could be met," he said.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) was working on the economic benefits of a new facility, Brooks said.
The Aotea Centre is undergoing a $66 million upgrade, including refurbishing the public foyers and conventions spaces with a revised external cladding system and roofing upgrade following the Grenfell fire tragedy in London.
It is the first major refurbishment in the centre's 30 years and due to be finished in October next year. Last week, its main ASB Theatre was renamed the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre.
In 2004, much of Aotea Square was taken over with large marquees decorated with a forest and beach theme and covered walkways for 2300 delegates at an International Bar Association convention.