The convention centre proposed for Queenstown could cost
about $50 million and cater for between 750 and 1000 people.
More details about the project came to light as Queenstown
Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley revealed
the council was commissioning an economic impact assessment
on the proposed centre.
The assessment, the nature of the council's involvement, how
much money it would contribute and how it could be allocated
would be declared in the council's annual plan, Mr Feeley
told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.
He described the consortium of centre development partners
announced by the council this week as ''serious investors who
have deep pockets and take a long-term view on a convention
centre, architects who only design stadiums and convention
centres, so you've got that design knowledge, and you've got
a large-scale operator in the form of SkyCity, and you've got
a local dimension there with Naylor Love, Southern Planning
Group and Ngai Tahu Property.
''The observation I make to this council is if this team
can't get a convention centre over the line, then no-one
Asked where the money to fund construction would come from,
Mr Feeley said this was still subject to negotiations.
However, Ngai Tahu Property and/or Morrison and Co would be
the major financial backers, if not the exclusive backers.
The two parties would fund construction of the centre and own
and operate it.
The convention centre would probably have a 750- to
1000-person capacity and the ability to run more than one
function at a time.
''Do we want a basic, functional, relatively austere
convention centre? Probably not, not on that site - not in
Queenstown,'' Mr Feeley said. The Queenstown centre would be
complementary to the new, larger centre in Christchurch and
the even larger centre planned for Auckland, to make New
Zealand a destination for the international conference and
The 4ha of council-owned land at the top of Man St,
overlooking central Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, was the
preferred site for the centre. The centre would occupy an
estimated 1.4ha, leaving the council with 2.55ha.
Asked if he was confident the centre would be built and
opened for business, Mr Feeley said negotiations had to begin
with the consortium, the council had to be sure the figures
stacked up and there had to be public consultation on the
project, but feedback from the community was in favour.
''The fact is 58% of the people in this town have a job
related to tourism, and a convention centre will be good for
tourism, so you can say right off the bat 58% of the
community will benefit from this in terms of increased
''My view is this team presented the best possible
opportunity to have a convention centre in Queenstown, and if
it doesn't happen with this team, it's unlikely to happen
anytime in the near future. But that's the decision facing
Skycity Entertainment Group, the preferred operator for the
proposed Queenstown Convention Centre, sees the resort as an
area of ''significant potential for continued tourism
The company was asked what return it expected from investing
in the convention centre if the venture was ''nothing to do
Spokeswoman Kelly Armitage, of Auckland, said yesterday
SkyCity was ''very interested in the region as one of New
Zealand's leading tourism operators''.
Destination Queenstown chief executive and convention centre
panel member Graham Budd said the facility would open up the
huge national and international conference and incentive
market to the resort.