23 Feb 2015

Sky City timeline of events

5:14 am on 23 February 2015

A timeline of events in negotiations between SkyCity and the Government for a new convention centre in Auckland.

An artist's impression of the convention centre.

An artist's impression of the convention centre. Photo: SKYCITY

  • 13 May 2013: Government and SkyCity sign heads of agreement for a $315 million convention centre, to be paid for by SkyCity in return for legislation allowing an expanded gambling operation.
  • 6 July 2013: Government and SkyCity sign agreement for convention centre costing $402 million.
  • 4 September 2013: SkyCity announces $10.6 million purchase of TVNZ land on convention centre block to "enhance the design and operational flexibility".
  • 20 September 2013: First meeting of the SkyCity design team and the Crown peer review team.
  • 12 November 2013: Parliament passes convention centre legislation extending SkyCity's casino licence by 35 years and allowing expanded gambling in return for a $402 million centre.
  • 4 December 2013: A SkyCity investor presentation includes the line that "as part of the site a future development site is being preserved for a potential future development e.g.. 300 room hotel".
  • 13 December 2013: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) informs Minister Steven Joyce in a memo that SkyCity has advised it "believes it will not be possible for them to build the centre's proposed design within the agreed budget." Nor have they been able to develop an alternative design within the agreed budget. It will not be possible to meet the 4 February 2014 deadline for approval of the design concept. MBIE advised SkyCity it must prepare a design within the agreed budget. SkyCity tells MBIE that the former TVNZ land will not be used for the centre, but a 300 bed hotel.
  • 17 January 2014: MBIE advises minister that SkyCity has, on the final date set out in the agreement, presented a revised concept design of nine volumes, weighing 8kg. MBIE report says the proposed centre is larger, and while detail is deleted from the released report, it implies the land area is smaller. The proposed hotel has moved from the original Wellesley Street site to the more valuable former TVNZ land, requiring an unspecified adjustment to the "value proposition in the agreement". The Exhibition Hall has moved to the ground floor, reducing the potential maximum floor space, and is no longer column free. The skybridge over Hobson Street connecting SkyCity's existing complex to the convention centre now links to the proposed hotel. Carpark capacity has risen from 918, to 1328. MBIE says the new design might also prove to be over budget.
  • 21 January 2014: Crown peer review team and MBIE meet SkyCity design team. MBIE advises minister it will be possible to reach agreement on design elements of the new concept.
  • 30 January 2014: The Crown peer review team reports back to the minister on SkyCity's revised concept. The Crown does not believe the proposal meets the agreed requirements, and has sent a formal response on unspecified areas needing attention, in what is called an extensive list of issues, large and small.
  • 7 February 2014: Minister advised that discussions continue with SkyCity over changes to the concept design.
  • 14 February 2014: Minister advised that the new design concept is moving closer to meeting the original design brief. The revised cost is not revealed in the released report, but is compared with the original $402 million.
  • 26 February 2014: Minister advised that talks continue, resource consent application is expected to be lodged in June 2014 if concept design agreed in March, otherwise there will be a three month delay. Deleted from the report is SkyCity's latest estimate of the "range of price escalation".
  • 2 April 2014: MBIE reports back to the minister on March meetings over SkyCity's revised design Concept (CD1A). An unnamed party confirms the unspecified design will still deliver the $90 million additional annual spend in the economy, called for in the original proposal. It is recommended the minister approve the changes in the design brief.
  • 4 April 2014: A note advising that MBIE officials are meeting with SkyCity. Aims include high-level agreement on design brief changes and "how potential cost escalations during the project will be met".
  • 11 April 2014: MBIE gives minister revised timelines for project. Resource consent application pushed out by two months to August 2014. If a full, notified consent process is required, completion of the centre would be May 2019. (Notes original agreement envisaged completion 20 months earlier, in September 2017)
  • 17 June 2014: MBIE notes the concept design phase formally concluded on May 19. Minister advised SkyCity wants to make a "low-key and reasonably generalised business as usual announcement" around the end of its financial year, June 30. Also advises that SkyCity is currently looking at the feasibility of a 300 bed 4+ star rated hotel on the ex TVNZ land.
  • 13 August 2014: SkyCity announces detail of new 5 star 300 bed hotel to be built on ex TVNZ land adjacent to convention centre, with laneways, bars and restaurants. It also announces agreement with the Government on the concept design. Minister Steven Joyce releases a statement welcoming the update. Neither statement refers to cost. The project moves on to the preliminary design phase, leading towards the lodging of a resource consent application.
  • 15 October 2014: MBIE advises the minister that SkyCity has provided, as required, a large volume of design documents (10kg). The officials' initial assessment is that these meet the original design brief. It also advises the minister of the latest cost estimate by SkyCity's quantity surveyor. This is deleted from the released material, however in a covering letter, Mr Joyce says at this point he was advised it would be $70-$130million.
  • 25 November 2014: MBIE provides a briefing for a presentation to be made the following day by SkyCity's CEO Nigel Morrison, chairman, senior managers and architects. Most issues to be flagged are deleted from the released report, as is the latest cost estimate. However, officials note six areas which SkyCity indicates for possible cost savings. MBIE advises that SkyCity intends to apply to the Auckland Council on 5 December for a non-notified resource consent. The company believes such a process could take three to four months, while a notified process could take up to a year.
  • 5 December 2014: Advises the minister of a meeting two days earlier between officials and SkyCity to discuss "the funding gap". All detail is deleted from the released report.
  • 19 December 2014: Sky City and the minister both announce the projected cost is between $70-$130 million, which it is hoped will be reduced by "value management savings and a rigourous and competitive procurement process". Mr Joyce says "other funding options would be considered if required." SkyCity has lodged the resource application with the council.
  • 15 February 2015: Minister Steven Joyce announces SkyCity will not pursue a taxpayer contribution to the convention centre, and that it may make the centre smaller - up to 10 per cent being stated as acceptable to the Government.