An artist's impression of the 750-seat meeting space, part
of the architects' concept design for the Queenstown
conference centre. Image supplied.
Consultants working on a proposed conference centre for
downtown Queenstown yesterday unveiled concept plans for a
$52.6 million facility capable of holding up to 800 delegates.
The facility would cover about 1ha of the 10.7ha Lakeview
site earmarked by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, with
other potential development including a 150-room hotel, 185
high-density residential units and 6500sq m of commercial and
Representatives of Populous, the largest international
architectural firm specialising in convention centres,
outlined their vision for the facility to about 120 people at
a public briefing at the Queenstown Memorial Centre last
Populous principal Chris Paterson said Lakeview was a
''world-class'' site for a conference centre, and the design
was about ''showing off what that site is about''.
Included in a plan was a 750-seat meeting space, 1100sq m
banquet-exhibition hall, and meeting and pre-function spaces
totalling more than 1500sq m.
A range of optional features were outlined that would improve
the building's flexibility, such as movable walls, but they
would add to the facility's price tag.
Jan Tonkin, founder of the country's largest convention
management company, the Conference Company, said she had
tested the design's fitness for purpose with a range of event
scenarios, and ''came out confident in the end that we have
the real ability to deliver''.
One scenario, which Queenstown could not accommodate at
present, was an international conference involving 700
delegates, 40 stands and six-to-eight concurrent sessions.
Representatives of Queenstown companies providing technical
production services for conference organisers asked the most
focused questions of the evening, criticising aspects of the
design as inflexible, and inadequate for technology-based
They offered to discuss their concerns with Populous. In
June, the council decided to press ahead with its conference
centre proposal, subject to factors such as securing capital
funding on top of its own $32.5 million contribution,
amending its long-term plan and considering alternative
Last month it proposed a district plan change to rezone about
13ha of council-owned and private land as ''Town Centre'',
extending the central business district across the Lakeview
Council manager of strategic projects and support Paul Speedy
said the council aimed to complete a draft master plan,
confirm Government funding and approve a project development
agreement for the conference centre this year.
Next year, it wanted to finalise total funding and adopt the
project into its 10-year plan, with construction beginning in
the first quarter of 2016.
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ann Lockhart
said another briefing focused on funding the conference
centre would be held in about two months.