Yock Stand to be demolished
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