Queenstown conference centre sites further explored

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Two alternate sites for Queenstown’s proposed $50 million convention centre remain on the table despite a preferred option being singled out. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council says it is still looking at three council-owned sites that all have the potential to be suitable locations for the new convention centre – Stanley Street, the Gorge Road car park and the most favoured Lakeview Holiday Park site. 

“The council had identified the Lakeview site as one with cost effective potential, given it’s a large flat site, and sensational locality in terms of proximity to the central business district and outstanding views,” chief executive Adam Feeley says. 

But it’s important for all options to be considered and tested, and the location “will form part of our conversation with the community”, mayor Vanessa van Uden says. 

The council announced in February that it had selected a consortium including Ngai Tahu Property Limited and Morris and Co to take the project to the next stage. 

Although the Lakeview site is a “good fit” in terms of the ability to leverage other commercial opportunities – key to the success of the centre – the potential of the other two sites needed to be understood more fully from economic benefit, financial and consenting perspectives,” Feeley adds. 

“In parallel with the preparation of information for consultation are the negotiations with both the funders and the proposed operator SKYCITY Entertainment Group. 

“The investors need to know that the project is financially viable, the operator needs to know it represents a good business opportunity, central and local government need to ensure that the scope of any contribution is both well-defined and capped and that the process has been robust,” he says. 

A further update on the project is planned for June and a dedicated community consultation process is expected by the end of the year.