Potential America’s Cup sites revealed
Major changes are planned for Auckland’s waterfront in the next few years as the city prepares to host the next America’s Cup.
The regatta won’t come cheap, with estimated costs ranging from $140 million to $190m.
Councillors were presented with five venue options at a closed-door meeting on Monday, and Auckland Council’s governing body will be asked to approve a final choice next week.
At this stage the front-runner is an extension to Halsey Wharf, near the recently developed Wynyard Quarter.
That’s the preferred option for Team New Zealand, as it ticks all the right boxes – but it’s also the most expensive.
Two other options involve the Captain Cook Wharf, however those appear to be dead in the water for several reasons.
The wharf is currently used by Ports of Auckland, which is already short on space and has made it clear it cannot vacate Captain Cook in time for the regatta.
Construction around the wharf would also have a ‘‘significant impact’’ on cruise ships, which would need to dock elsewhere.
In addition, Team New Zealand has raised concerns about choppy water around Captain Cook Wharf due to the frequent passing of ferries and other vessels.
Rod Marler from Panuku Development Auckland, the city’s regeneration agency, acknowledged Captain Cook no longer appeared viable but said the proposals ‘‘needed to be run to ground’’.
Two other options also appear unlikely to get the go-ahead as they propose spreading the regatta venue across several waterfront sites.
Team New Zealand has made it clear it wants competing teams grouped together to create the ‘‘feeling of one village’’.
‘‘A single work platform and building in one area would certainly be preferred,’’ Marler said.
That leaves Halsey Wharf as the only realistic, viable option for Auckland if it wants to host the 2021 regatta.
‘‘We dearly want to host this event in Auckland, and for Aucklanders and new Zealanders to get the benefit from it,’’ said Steve Armitage, general destination manager for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
A final decision will be made by council on November 23.
Team New Zealand parades the Auld Mug through Auckland’s viaduct on their winning return from Bermuda.