Experts who’ve pored over three site options for a Queenstown conference and exhibition centre are convinced just one stacks up.
Convention centre design specialists, architects and conference organisers examined council-owned Lakeview, Gorge Road and Stanley Street sites all in or near the Queenstown CBD.
Only the 3.5 hectare Lakeview site provides enough space to comfortably fit an international-standard centre, the experts found.
That includes space for ample outdoor exhibitions, parking and future expansion.
By contrast, the present Gorge Rd and Stanley St sites are poky and don’t have anything like the views that Lakeview does, the advice says.
Gorge Rd’s triangular shape is constraining enough but there’s also no room for parking or expansion unless part of the neighbouring Queenstown Recreation Ground’s used, analysis concludes.
The Stanley St site is even worse because a centre would have to be over three levels, the loading bay entry would be off steep Beetham St and there’d be no room for parking or expansion.
The site would also be right next to busy Stanley St.
Queenstown Lakes District council chief executive Adam Feeley says while Stanley St and Gorge Rd are close to the town centre, the experts believe Lakeview will benefit the CBD more as it enables a bigger development.
“Those [other] sites are too small – not unworkable, but too small.”
Feeley adds the experts’ view is emphatic: “Their view is…if you’re going to build one, build it at Lakeview or not at all.
“The most fundamental reason is the other two sites are just too constrained,” he says.
Lakeview land (top of Man St)
Future expansion space available
Size allows ideal layout and design – and it’s flat
Bulk of building not prominent on landscape
Steep walk in parts but within a “tolerable” 10-15 minutes of CBD and there could be covered escalator on part of Man Street
Exposed to prevailing winds
Lack of sunlight, especially in winter
Gorge Rd Carpark (downtown)
Short walk on flat ground to CBD
Relatively flat site
Won’t be consenting problems
Subject to liquefaction in an earthquake
Limited space, and triangular-shaped site not easy
No on-site parking or room for expansion unless encroach onto Recreation Ground
More shady, especially in winter, than sites further east
Stanley St Carpark (downtown)
Close proximity to the edge of downtown
Confined nature of the site, bounded by three streets which is not ideal, and lacking space for parking or expansion
Views only from top level, and limited at that
Site not scenic and frontage to busy street
Bulk of building will be very visible from CBD and both side streets
Drop-off area off steep Beetham St
Three levels of meeting space not ideal
Source: Site analysis report by convention centre design specialists Populous, Fearon Hay Architects and conference and event organisers The Conference Company