The finish date for Christchurch’s long-awaited new half-billion dollar sports stadium has been delayed six months, to mid-2025.
Work on the new 30,000-seater rectangular-turf Canterbury multi-use arena (CMUA) was due to be completed by the end of 2024.
But city councillors released an update on the state-of-the-art arena progress today, saying it’s already six months behind schedule.
“The rapid, global escalation of shipping and steel prices in this Covid-19 environment have provided a real challenge for the Kōtui team working on the preliminary design of the CMUA,” said Barry Bragg, CMUA project delivery board chair.
The project was marred by controversy earlier this year when the city council decided to slash seating capacity to 25,000, after saying the budget had already blown out by $131 million.
Concept plans showed a design similar to Dunedin's popular Forsyth Barr Stadium. Image / Supplied
The decision divided the city, with thousands signing an online petition to stick with the original capacity, fearing they could miss out on big All Blacks matches and other key events and prompted a U-turn to the original 30,000 capacity.
The budget now totals $533m.
“While the projected completion date is now estimated to be the end of June 2025, council staff and contractors are actively looking at ways to streamline the current design, early works, and construction phases so contractors can hit the ground running as soon as the Design and Construction work is awarded in 2022,” Bragg said.
The updated concept design CMUA features a permanent roof similar to Dunedin’s popular Forsyth Barr Stadium, U-shaped concourse, with space for a ‘stage pocket’ at the northern end of the arena, 30,000 spectators in sporting mode, and thousands more in concert mode.
The Kōtui consortium led by international stadia design experts BESIX Watpac is currently working on the preliminary designs for the CMUA. These designs are expected to be completed and published by the end of this year.
Red and black sports lovers were devastated when the February 2011 killer earthquake ended more than 100 years of sporting history at Lancaster Park – or AMI Stadium as it was when the violent shaking sank its giant concrete grandstands and saw liquefaction swamp the once-prime turf.
For the past nine years, top-flight rugby and other sports have been accommodated at a “temporary” AMI Stadium, now known as Orangetheory Stadium, in Addington on the old rugby league showgrounds.
Meanwhile, the old Lancaster Park site has since been razed and cleared to eventually make way for club sports fields, with the new stadium earmarked for already three cleared CBD blocks bounded by Tuam, Hereford, Madras, and Barbadoes streets.