Councillors to debate proposed design for $473m Christchurch stadium

An artist’s impression of a potential design for the new stadium. Image: newsline / CCC
An artist’s impression of a potential design for the new stadium. Image: newsline / CCC
City councillors will meet on Thursday to consider signing off on a change to the proposed design for the planned Christchurch stadium.

The design option that has been recommended is for a 25,000 seat stadium with a U-shaped concourse, which would stay within the $473 million budget.

The Crown has provided $220 million and the council will have to find the remaining $253 million.

Cost verification of an initial concept design - with 30,000 seats, concert staging on the field of play, and a full level 1 concourse - came in $131.4 million over budget. These costs were due primarily to the rapidly escalating price of steel and shipping costs worldwide post-Covid-19, and the increased scale needed to accommodate additional seating and the level one concourse, Christchurch City Council head of recreation sport and events Nigel Cox said.

He said the recommended design would significantly reduce risk of turf damage from concerts and festivals, have a smaller on-site footprint, and ensure the project stays within the $473 million budget.

"The world has changed dramatically since the CMUA investment case was prepared and signed off in 2019, and the price of construction materials and international shipping costs have risen astronomically across the board," he said.

The recommended design approach will strike a balance between ensuring the stadium remains affordable to build, without limiting its amenity, he said.

A range of options were assessed against delivery and capital costs, stakeholder expectations, commercial viability, competitive advantage, operational functionality, guest experience and multi-use potential.

Cox said this approach helps minimise or avoid any delays and costs to the project that could potentially only become known when the design is more fully progressed.

"As with all large projects, the CMUA’s pre-contract services agreement phase is designed to help the contractor and council identify and address any risks relating to cost, timeframes and project scope early on.

"Council and Venues Ōtautahi staff worked closely with representatives of the Kōtui consortium that’s responsible for the design and construction of the CMUA, and found ways to bring the cost of the project down, while still delivering an anchor project that Cantabrians will be proud of."

Venues Ōtautahi chief executive Caroline Harvie-Teare supported the recommended design direction.

"The design delivers on all of the core fundamentals critical to the success of the venue," she said.

"A 25,000 seating capacity and 36,000 large concert capacity ensures the CMUA is a competitive proposition in the national market, and, most importantly, it realises the forecast social, cultural and economic benefits for the city."

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said the recommended design direction strikes a good balance between amenity, quality and cost-effectiveness.

"Our dream is for the new multi-use arena to be a quality home ground for the Crusaders, and the recommended design direction ticks all the boxes for us,” he says.

If city councillors vote to approve the design direction at the extraordinary council meeting on Thursday, BESIX Watpac NZ (CMUA) Limited (Kōtui) will work on the preliminary design. The designs will be published once they’re completed.

  • Read the report on the CMUA design direction here.

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