SkyCity Entertainment has signed a heads of agreement with the New Zealand Government to design, construct and operate the NZ$402m ($334m) convention centre in Auckland.
As per the deal, SkyCity will invest NZ$315m ($261m) to build and fit-out the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) and provide NZ$87m ($73m) in land costs.
After completion, the centre will feature 780 car park spaces, a link-way bridge over Hobson Street, and will be capable of housing 3,500 convention delegates at one time.
SkyCity will provide the 14,000m² Auckland CBD site for the convention centre, which is surrounded by Nelson, Hobson and Wellesley streets.
In return, the government has agreed to extend SkyCity’s Auckland casino venue licence for 35 years to 2048 and also agreed to a package of regulatory reforms.
SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison said the extension of Auckland’s casino licence provides the certainty needed to secure continued long-term financing.
"This project will require around 1,000 jobs during construction and will see SKYCITY employing an additional 800 New Zealanders once the NZICC is fully operational," Morrison said.
SkyCity said it will fund the project from cash and existing debt facilities.
Construction work on the convention centre is expected to commence in 2014 and complete in 2017.
New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the convention centre will be a major asset for New Zealand and will generate significant benefits, including a projected $90m annual injection into the economy, an estimated 1,000 jobs during construction, and 800 jobs once it is up and running.
"It’s estimated this new facility will attract around 33,000 more conference delegates each year," Joyce said.
Image: New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce. Photo: Courtesy of New Zealand Government.