Monday, 11 August 2014

Convention Centre Certainty

One bit of uncertainty around the rebuild has now been resolved: the Convention Centre precinct is going ahead. The private sector partners were announced on Friday along with a few more details on funding

Georgina Stylianou from The Press called me Friday asking for comment; I emailed her this after a chat.
“It’s pretty hard to tell whether the Convention Center Precinct offers value for money on the information currently available. While we know the Crown is contributing $284 million, we don’t know what portion of that is dedicated to the central convention hall and what portion is targeted at enhancing the rest of the precinct.”
 “I get nervous about business cases based on estimated flow-on benefits from large numbers of high-spending conventioneers as these things have a tendency to be overestimated. While those kinds of benefits were mentioned recently in support of the project, I don’t believe we’ve here yet seen any kind of business case at all. The Crown is contributing about $800 per person in Christchurch towards this precinct, or about $2200 per household. I hope that more of the details will be released soon so that we can judge whether we’re likely to get that much value from it. It would be nice to know, for example, in the case that the facility draws fewer conventions than hoped, whether any losses fall on the private sector partners, the City, or the Crown.”
I also noted that the $500m total cost isn't that far out of line with the speculative number that came out in NZ Property Investor a couple of years ago.

Until more details are released, it's going to be pretty hard to tell what's all going on there. Does the $500m in total include the hotels' investments in new facilities around the Centre? How much of the Crown contribution is for the Convention Centre Building, and how much is for the surrounding land? Does this mean that the Town Hall is now superfluous and that any insurance money from it could be put towards roads and other works?

1 comment:

  1. If the payout for the Town Hall is not used to repair the hall (fingers crossed) then my understanding is that it goes to other parts of the Arts Precinct (which only had $30 million in the kitty after the projected $127.5 million Town Hall rebuild) rather than roads and the like.