Auckland Council’s Governing Body will this week be asked to approve a team base location for hosting the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.
On 13 November, councillors were presented with five infrastructure options for hosting the event, which will add between $550 million and $1 billion* in direct benefits to the New Zealand economy.
Auckland Council Chief Executive Stephen Town says a decision on a location is required at the Governing Body meeting on 23 November to allow for resource consent to be lodged in January. "The main America’s Cup races are likely to be held from January to March 2021, so to meet the event’s timeframes and the anticipated arrival of syndicates, construction needs to be substantially complete by mid to late 2019,” he says.
Since Emirates Team New Zealand’s (ETNZ) victory in the America’s Cup in late June, the council has been working closely with the government and ETNZ on the infrastructure requirements to deliver the 2021 event.
Panuku Development Auckland, the city’s regeneration agency, has led this work and its Design and Place Director Rod Marler says technical experts have undertaken a robust evaluation of a longlist of possible locations across the Auckland region.
“The locations have been evaluated based on three key criteria: ability to deliver in the timeframe (consented and constructed by late 2019), ability to meet the requirements of the teams and event (such as security and an event village), and the extent to which any investment delivers a legacy for Auckland and New Zealand,” says Marler.
The five short-listed options are:
- Halsey Wharf extension;
- Captain Cook West;
- Captain Cook East;
- a dispersed option across Halsey Wharf and Westhaven Marina; or
- a dispersed option across Halsey Wharf, Hobson Wharf and Wynyard Point East.
Stephen Town says the indicative costs for the five options range from $140 million to $190 million. “This funding will be included in the council’s Long-term Plan, on the basis that a funding package will need to be negotiated, sharing costs between the council, the government and private sector investors,” he says.
“We understand that the government will consider its involvement next month, with decisions in early 2018.” Town added that the Governing Body will also consider the consent process that will be required to meet the event deadline.
“While this is an exciting opportunity for Auckland both around the actual event in 2021 and for the legacy that any event infrastructure can deliver for the city, we also understand the need for a great environmental outcome,” he says.
Steve Armitage, General Manager Destination at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), says hosting two previous America’s Cup regattas delivered more than $1 billion in total benefits for New Zealand – mainly in tourism and the marine industry.
“The regattas of 2000 and 2003 were momentous for our region in numerous ways, and the benefits went well beyond our lion’s share of the national economic injection,” he says.
“The events showcased Auckland to the world, and preparing for the regattas was the catalyst for waterfront transformation – a legacy Aucklanders still benefit from today.”
“It’s estimated that extra economic activity generated by the 2003 regatta alone sustained more than 8100 full-time equivalent jobs, which was nearly 2 per cent of Auckland’s employment at that time,” says Armitage.
ETNZ has stated a strong preference to hold the event in Auckland, but reserves the right to hold the event in Italy if suitable infrastructure is not available. The deadline for a final announcement on the location is 31 August 2018.