Auckland gets $700M investment for hotel, convention center

Skycity Entertainment Group and New Zealand construction contractor Fletcher Construction have announced a partnership to build the New Zealand International Convention Centre and a new five-star hotel. Skycity Chief Executive Nigel Morrison announced that Skycity has agreed the terms of a binding, $477 million contract with Fletcher Construction Company Ltd. to build and complete the design of the NZICC, the five-star, 300-room Hobson Street hotel, the retail laneway linking Nelson and Hobson streets, and 1,327 parking spaces under the NZICC. 

The parties expect work to begin by Christmas, and the construction projects are expected to run for at least 38 months. Including all other associated costs including land, fit-out, and contingencies, the projects represent a $700 million total investment by Skycity in the Auckland economy.

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The NZICC is one of the most significant building projects in Auckland since the construction of the Sky Tower—also built by Fletcher Construction—18 years ago. Fletcher Construction will build the 32,000-square-meter convention center and a new 300-room, five-star luxury hotel simultaneously,  kick-starting a five-year inner-city building boom estimated at putting $6 billion into the local economy.

Skycity and Fletcher Construction have entered into a binding commitment letter that records the agreed commercial and legal terms of the building works contracts for the NZICC and Hobson St hotel.

Formal signing of the two building works contracts is expected in November, once a small number of outstanding matters have been satisfied, including finalizing insurance and specific requirements under the NZICC Agreement with the NZ Government.

First look inside Auckland’s newest hotel
The architects and designers working on the NZICC have continued to refine the design of the building, to further anchor the building in its New Zealand context. They have released new images, including a first look inside the Hobson Street hotel.

Andrew Barclay, Principal of Warren and Mahoney Architects and Design Director for the NZICC, shared insights into the building's development:

The agreement between Skycity and Fletcher Construction follows Auckland Council’s ratification of the streamlined design of the NZICC agreed to with the Crown in May this year. Skycity now has all the resource consents in place it requires to begin construction. 

Skycity has agreed with the Crown to spend at least $430 million constructing the NZICC, in return for a range of gaming concessions including the extension of its Auckland licence through until 2048.

Morrison said that the company was likely to spend $471 million on the NZICC, plus an additional $159 million on the new hotel and $73 million, most of which is on the new laneway, airbridge, retail fit out and additional parking facilities. The company was still considering options for financing the hotel.

The NZICC will be the largest purpose-build convention center in the country, capable of hosting conventions of around 3000 people, or one-off events of up to 4000 people on the exhibition floor. It will also be able to host multiple events at the same time. The NZICC’s exhibition hall alone will be five times larger than the current largest exhibition hall in the country – Skycity Convention Centre’s New Zealand Room. A new laneway similar to Federal Street between the new hotel and the NZICC will also be created, providing food and beverage outlets and a new public space. 

The city’s economic development agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), which supports the development of an international convention center for Auckland, has welcomed the announcement of Fletcher Construction. “In addition to the infrastructure opportunity the NZICC supports the growth of the business events industry for Auckland – which aims to significantly grow the sector from $236 million of direct spend to Auckland in 2013 to $430 million by 2023. Auckland Convention Bureau, a division within ATEED, is already fielding interest in a venue suited to staging large scale conferences”, Chief Executive Brett O’Riley said in a statement.

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