Yock Stand to be de­mol­ished

Sunday News - - SPORT - David Long

The di­lap­i­dated Yock Stand at the ASB Ten­nis Arena will be knocked down in March, but there’s still no date for a roof.

The re­de­vel­op­ment of New Zealand’s top ten­nis sta­dium is a saga that’s been go­ing on for over a decade and it’s set to con­tinue, how­ever there will be one new stand at the venue next sea­son.

Then, after the 2020 ASB Clas­sic the plan is for the Robin­son Stand to be torn down, while fur­ther fund­ing will be sought for a re­tractable roof.

‘‘In March we’re plan­ning to go ahead and re­de­velop the Yock Stand and the fa­cil­i­ties un­der­neath,’’ Ten­nis Auck­land CEO Mar­cus Reynolds told Stuff.

‘‘So we’ve got a project plan in place, but it’s go­ing to be a staged ap­proach.

‘‘So Yock this year, the plan will then be do­ing the Robin­son in 2020 and then we’ll con­tinue to fundraise and the roof is part of the project plan.’’

Robin­son and Yock were built in the 1950s and while the Robin­son is still pass­able, the Yock is well be­yond its use by date and it’s no longer ac­cept­able to ex­pect peo­ple to spend six hours on con­crete steps at what is one of New Zealand’s premier sport­ing events.

‘‘It will be bucket seats, the ca­pac­ity will go up slightly,’’ Reynolds said.

‘‘The ASB Clas­sic is grow­ing, it’s been pretty chocker, ev­ery­one’s hav­ing a great time, so we’ve got to im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence along­side that.

‘‘It’s re­ally im­por­tant you take the fans into ac­count when you do that. So there will be bucket seat­ing for them and nicer bath­room fa­cil­i­ties un­der­neath.

‘‘As the tour­na­ment grows and we con­tinue to main­tain our po­si­tion as a premier event, we’ve got to keep pro­gress­ing and stay­ing ahead of the curve in ev­ery­thing we do and the fa­cil­i­ties go hand in hand with the tour­na­ment.’’

The re­place­ment for the Yock Stand, in­clud­ing de­sign fees and con­sent, will be cost $10 mil­lion.

Over the years, the costs of re­de­vel­op­ing the venue have spi­ralled.

In 2010, the price of the roof was $6 mil­lion and in June of that year Auck­land Coun­cil made a con­di­tional prom­ise of $2 mil­lion to­wards it.

Half of the sta­dium was de­vel­oped nine years ago, when a deal was struck with the com­pany Next Gen­er­a­tion, to turn a large part of the fa­cil­ity into a health club.

That work took over a year to com­plete and for one year the venue looked more like a build­ing site than a sport­ing arena and a huge amount of money was spent on tem­po­rary fa­cil­i­ties to get by.

Re­source con­sent was granted for a roof over two years ago. Ten­nis Auck­land had cal­cu­lated at the time that it would cost $18.5 mil­lion to re­place the Yock and Robin­son stands and put up a re­tractable roof.

At least $10.5 mil­lion of the money had been se­cured for the project, but the rest of the money hasn’t been sourced.

Reynolds says the time­line for the new stand will mean it’s com­pleted well ahead of next year’s Clas­sic.

‘‘It’s a rel­a­tively quick build,’’ he said. ‘‘The Yock Stand is al­most a stand alone block, you can see where it starts and fin­ishes.

‘‘All things go­ing well, we should be done in Oc­to­ber, so ready to pack in, start pre­par­ing and test­ing in Novem­ber. We’ve hope­fully got the ad­van­tage of the Jan­uary 6 start date next year, which is pen­cilled in.’’

Plans for the Robin­son Stand haven’t been fi­nalised, but like the Yock Stand build­ing it will be done with the roof in mind.

‘‘We can knock it down and start again, or we can look at grow­ing what we’ve got on the foun­da­tions that cur­rently ex­ist,’’ Reynolds said.

‘‘The pref­er­ence would be to start again, bring it down and re­fresh ev­ery­thing.

‘‘We can go higher, but it’s got to be equal and en­gi­neered for the roof, so that it doesn’t look strange.’’

Reynolds said there hadn’t been any de­ci­sions made on whether to keep the old names of the stands or change them, but there would cer­tainly be plenty of sup­port for nam­ing one of them after four-time Clas­sic cham­pion David Fer­rer.

‘‘It will be bucket seats, the ca­pac­ity will go up slightly.’’ Ten­nis Auck­land boss Mar­cus Reynolds

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