Iconic buildings are lifting the game

Iconic buildings are lifting the game

Total Property - Issue 6 2018

Landmark building developments can change more than city skylines. They can transform local economies, boost surrounding businesses and stimulate further investment in property.

The Sky Tower has become such a symbol of Auckland it’s hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. At 328m, it dominates the city skyline and millions have enjoyed the 360-degree views from its three public observation levels.

Since its completion in 1997, it has attracted 15 million visitors. But SKYCITY has proven it is far more than the iconic tower, as the economic influence of its hotels, convention facilities, theatre and casino has spread and transformed its surroundings.

With Federal Street developed into a shared space now boasting a string of bars and restaurants from top chefs, SKYCITY is at the heart of a bustling entertainment hub.

The next major milestone will come in 2020 with the opening of the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) and five-star Horizon Hotel.

Capable of hosting conferences of 3,150 people and one-off events of 4,000, the convention centre and hotel are likely to create 1,000 jobs. An expected 33,000 conference attendees each year will increase visitor spending in the region by $90 million.

“The NZICC will not only benefit the region, but the country as a whole,” says Anna Hayward, head of the Auckland Convention Bureau at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Hayward says the convention centre has unlocked further investment in property, such as the Horizon Hotel, and development along a new laneway dining precinct.

Graeme Stephens, SKYCITY’s Chief Executive Officer, says SKYCITY’s investment continues with the acquisition of a majority interest in the AA Centre on Albert Street in 2017. “As an integrated entertainment company we see great potential for further accommodation, restaurants and bars, and entertainment facilities for the public.”

Te Papa in Wellington was built in a manner fit for a trove of national treasures. At 36,000m2, its public floor space is the equivalent of three rugby fields.

The museum attracts 1.5 million visitors a year. Half are tourists from overseas, and about 300,000 from other parts of New Zealand, says Simon Marsh, Wellington City Council’s portfolio leader for economic development and business.

“The council gives Te Papa an annual grant of $2.25 million, but for every dollar we spend we’re getting back around $40 for our investment.”

Sustaining 1,500 full-time jobs, Te Papa adds $90 million to the council’s GDP figures.

“If we look back to when Te Papa was opened, suddenly we had all these iconic buildings opening and activity happening around them. We had the museum, then the Westpac Stadium, and people were pouring into Wellington for sport, or to go see an exhibition. It acted as a catalyst, and we had a halo effect with businesses opening up around them.”

The next key project is the Wellington Convention Centre and Sir Peter Jackson’s movie museum, planned for a prime site opposite Te Papa.

Dunedin’s high-tech Forsyth Barr Stadium has welcomed over 1.7 million visitors since it opened in 2011. As well as high-profile concerts and sports, it hosts numerous business events, including national conferences and trade and consumer shows.

Since opening, the stadium has brought over $210 million in economic benefits to the city.

Des Adamson, Enterprise Dunedin’s business relationship manager, says: “The extra attention the stadium brings to the city has benefits that work right through Dunedin. It brings in visitors and gives them the opportunity to see another side of Dunedin.”

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