Upgrades planned for the stadium
Chiefs plan for corporate suites at FMG
New Zealand Super Rugby team the Chiefs are taking upgrades of FMG Stadium into their own hands, despite some early concerns from Hamilton councillors.
The Chiefs plan to install 14 new container-style corporate suites which will accommodate up to 20 people each on the eastern end of the ground.
The Chiefs will own the boxes, and will pay all building and installation costs and the maintenance costs. Council will need to spend $15,000 fora resource consent fee, but will gather revenue from rental and catering commissions.
The Chiefs are the key hirer of FMG Stadium. Their current hire agreement expires on September 30, 2020 with a right of renewal for a term based on their license to operate a Super Rugby franchise.
A key problem raised by councillors was a temporary stand, if one was needed to be installed for an event.
A temporary stand can add an additional 5000 seats to the stadium, but the resource consent to construct one ends this year and the council will not be reapplying.
However, if a temporary stand was needed again, the corporate suites could be removed in part or whole.
Council also wanted more information around the costs going into the project, and amended the motion that the project would be brought back before council before a final sign off, so councillors could look at the full costs and the resource consent for the corporate hosting facility.
Councillor James Casson was the only councillor against the motion, however when his amendment failed he changed his vote to support the motion.
“I see this as a really good business plan. The Chiefs do bring a lot of money into the city. If you make things hard for people they can actually move around,” Cr Casson said.
“I think making things harder and tying it up it is quite ridiculous.”
He was in the minority, as councillors wanted to see the costs before moving onto the next stage.
Councillor Angela O’leary said the motion showed the Council’s due diligence.
“Our role is to get the best deal for this city, and for people like the Chiefs, our role is to ask questions and add value and that is what the members in this chambers have asked today,” Ms O’leary said.
Councillor Garry Mallett also supported the motion as he wanted the subject to come back before council.
Mayor Andrew King said the city’s partnership with the Chiefs was a healthy one for the city.
“Whether you like it or not rugby union is the sport of our country, and a lot of the children see these players as heroes and icons,” Mayor King said.
“This proposal is about developing the stadium further and bringing in more revenue for our ratepayers.”
The proposed suites will go at the Willoughby park side of the stadium.