Queenstown convention centre ‘dream team’ no more

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A DREAM team of preferred parties progressing a convention centre is no longer. 

A new report by Queenstown Lakes District Council – being chewed over at today’s monthly meeting – reveals talks with a preferred consortium led by Ngai Tahu Property and infrastructure specialists Morrison and Co have come to nothing. 

Council selected the group and casino giant SkyCity Entertainment Group as preferred operator after issuing a Request for Proposals in 2012 but a report this week says: “These discussions have not resulted in a mutually agreeable option for development of a convention centre.” 

However, it’s recommended council note ongoing talks with Ngai Tahu Tourism regarding a proposed $25 million hot pools complex at the centre’s preferred Lakeview site in Queenstown are “progressing satisfactorily”. 

It also says a number of discussions with other parties interested in the site and the proposed mix of uses continue. 

“As anticipated, few consider the centre to be a strong commercial opportunity in its own right, but consider its development will be key to stimulating wider development of the site.” 

The report contains revised forecasts of operating costs and revenue – and includes scenarios with and without SkyCity plus options with or without a more modest privately-funded competing centre touted for Remarkables Park. 

The capital cost of a council-led Queenstown centre remains at $52.5m. 

Of rate options for council’s estimated $30.9m capital cost, it’s recommended councillors adopt one where costs relate to direct benefit. Lower rates rises would be for residents – higher increases hitting commercial premises in Queenstown.

A raft of conditions including Government confirming financial support must be met before any decisions.