The Eye of the Fish

July 27, 2010

Indoor Stadium options

In the interests of being a good citizen, and supporting the search for another possible site for the TSB Arena should it chose to relocate away from it’s foreshore-grabbing frontline position (surely the most pointless place for a ‘black box’ to be), I thought it may be useful to research some other sites around town that have been mooted. All the images have been sourced from googlemaps, and all are at exactly the same scale and same orientation – so you can see how they compare. Hold on a tick, I’ll load them up:
Here’s the original, for starters: the TSB Arena, from above.

Next up is the concourse in front of the Westpac Stadium, or Caketin:

We can see that the areas are about the same size really. So, not that much extra room there – a bit longer, but thinner. There are issues to deal with, including getting people out of one stadium, and safely away from the exits – but this could be simply dealt with in the design phase.

How about we compare that with the site of the new Indoor Arena at Cobham Drive – no earthworks showing on Google yet, but looking great on site:

OK, we can see here how much larger the Cobham site is. The new Indoor Stadium there is going to be massive in size, as this photo is only really a corner of the whole site.

What about the Centreport land, and that bloody ugly log storage area that is such a waste of foreshore? Here it is – or, just a small corner of it:

Safe to say there is a whole lot of room there, should anyone want to build there. And surely a far better solution than piling up raw, unprocessed logs, shipping off our best assets.

Another suggestion from one of our readers was well away from the waterfront, at the Newtown old showgrounds. That seems like a good option, and their site out the back looks like this:

Large, flat, under-utilised area, on main traffic route. Seems like it could do with a new life. This surely has to be a strong contender for under-utilised site of the year. But: it is in Newtown. Hmmmm.

What else? How does the site compare with the Michael Fowler Centre? What sort of size are we really looking at:

That shows that actually the Fowlhouse is quite compact really. Well designed, no doubt. And, evidently, undersized for a decent mid-sized rock concert, as it must hold less than the TSB Arena.

And here, compared in size to the hallowed green turf of the Phoenix and the Hurricanes, being used for cricket in this photo:

There are other options for a new site, of course, with land currently sitting empty, such as at the proposed new super-sized Super markets, in John St:

There’s loads of room there – do we really need it filled with vegetables? (and no, I don’t mean the people of Newtown). If someone could solve the traffic issues, and get some decent public transport flowing there, that site could be put to great use as a Convention Centre.

The other supermarket site is of course at the Basin Reserve, where it will just clog up the traffic:

Very silly place for a supermarket, in my humble opinion. You’ll need a flyover to sort out that mess…. So, I guess not that good a place for an Indoor Stadium either then !

Where else? Well, there is the Railway yards, but to be honest, those boys down at the railways don’t like anybody else playing with their trainset:

But this was a serious and well thought out suggestion from one of our regular readers – Erentz – who has it all worked out. Read his comment here.

There is another place though, that sings out for redevelopment to me. Currently split in two by one of our main roads, the sites have been sitting empty for years. Even car yards have deserted them. Probably destined to be more upmarket, skyline-blocking and view-hogging apartments for those that can afford them – at least until the whole apartment market went tits-up and the land is just sitting there vacant. What about building on this site – both sides of the road – even over the road – and linking it together with connections to both Te Papa and to Courtenay Place? Yes, I’m talking about the land between Wakefield and Cable, around the back of Readings Cinemas at Courtenay Central. Surely that is a choice place for a new Indoor Stadium and Convention Centre?

Post-script: Here is the Vector Arena in Auckland, at the same scale, as a way of comparison:

27 - 07 - 10

That Newtown site at the showgrounds is long gone: it’s been Astroturfed and in use as a soccer ground.

27 - 07 - 10

Newtown astroturfed? That picture with all the cars in the carpark? I wouldn’t think that counts it out though – there is still a vast area of waste land there, unused, including the Show buildings themselves – which appear to be only partly used by the Dance School. If the long term use of the Newtown site was best used for a convention centre / indoor stadium, then I reckon it is still on the list.

A big factor in all of this of course is the question of who actually owns the land. If the Council already own it, that makes things so much easier….

27 - 07 - 10

What about one of the parks or sports fields in the southern burbs? Macalister or Martin Luckie perhaps?

I’m inclined to agree with who ever it was the other day that said we needed to stop looking at the waterfront for things that don’t need a view of the sea. Which includes sports and concerts.

27 - 07 - 10

There were 20 cars parked on the footpath along Hutchison Road on Saturday just for one kid’s sports game (or whatever it was). Imagine the mayhem of 12,000 people (although I guess they could use Countdown’s carpark, once built… hahahaha). Also, noise plus residential area equals loaded switchboard at the WCC.

27 - 07 - 10

davidp – no, the suburbs would not do. The thing is, it needs to be as central as possible, and as fully connected to public and private traffic as possible. And, as Julian says, away from residential areas. I guess that’s why the waterfront has been so popular – but perhaps its time has come.

Think of the events that the TSB Arena has had in the past, and will have in the future in its new location:
Homegrown, Festival of the Arts, World of Wearable Wooden skirts, Disney on Ice, regular Phoenix? No, who are they, Saints? basket ball, Book Fair, Armageddon, all sorts. That’s the whole reason they shifted the footy away from the Athletic Park – well, one of them – monster traffic problems in the burbs.

I’m thinking the Reading site is a front runner for a solution, though have to span over the road – and Erentz’s suggestion of railway yards a good second.

Who owns the reading carpark site and the old car site opposite Te Papa?

Dan Slevin
27 - 07 - 10

The Readings car park is owned by Readings and was earmarked for more cinema screens (at least the upstairs is). They can’t find a ground floor tenant (tried bowling alley, supermarket, Warehouse) to justify the build.

27 - 07 - 10

I thought the Reading car park was going to be used for a cinema extension. Wasn’t that announced last year?

I don’t think the old car yard opposite Te Papa is big enough.

If the bypass were trenched (as it should have been from the start) then how about the large area of waste land around the bypass and Tory St. Landscape the area in front of the war memorial. Join Tory and Tasman Streets without a junction with the trenched bypass. Then build a venue either between the war memorial and Taranaki St, or between Tory St and the Basin. Or both so you could run two events at the same time.

28 - 07 - 10

I like the log yard idea, its close to the railway station which I see as fairly critical and it could use the existing Caketin carparking. You would need a pedestrian overbridge to get people safely over the road from the Stadium concourse.

If people got upset about it being on the waterfront – well theres already a massive stadium there. And its not like the public is losing views of the water in that area.

28 - 07 - 10

Dan – so if the land is owned by Reading, and they were going to build the ‘arthouse’ extension there, but in the meantime have renamed part of their portfolio as Angelika ie the same as their Arthouse was going to be – doesn’t that mean they were going to give up on that desire?

Still sees to me that there is a good chance they would sell it if they found the right buyer…

Seamonkey Madness
28 - 07 - 10

I also like the idea of the Wakefield St option. A building spanning the road would provide enough of a footprint to work for multiple courts and large concert venue alike.

Carparking would be a smaller issue than other sites, as, well, they have two carpark facilities in place already – just build on top! =)
Also, with the expected increase in the CBD population and it being close to the main PT spine (Courtenay Place), this again reduces the private vehicle dependency/congestion problem associated with it.
A big problem that everyone will foresee is obviously the same CBD population gettin a case of nimbyism, especially to the concerts.

Oh, and FYI, the astroturf at Te Whaaea is a pleasure to play on – apart from being extremely exposed to the wind! Also, it is not just for football (a.k.a. soccer(!)). The game being played on it before ours was a junior rugby game. At the whistle, the groundstaff simply removed the rugby posts and replaced it with our goals.

28 - 07 - 10

Sadly, I think you’re all barking up the wrong tree. WWL are unlikely to ever want to completely remove the TSB Arena – note, they keep talking about enlargening it, but staying on the same site.

If you have a look at your top photo (great series of comparable images, by the way: thank you), you can see that the current TSB Arena does not take up the whole site available. There is the lower height portion to the north, labelled Wellington Waterfront (they’re not actually there – that is the Chicago bar etc), and the area to the East (actually Shed 6, where WWL really are, at the north end).

The Arena and Shed 6 are split by a little infill roof / building, housing old timbers from the wreck of the Inconstant, being squirted with water. Quite frankly, that could be moved elsewhere – it is an appalling waste of space, and has weird nasty left over bits of space at each end.

My guess is that WWL are planning to enlarge the current facility by going both North, and East, simultaneously – probably not down, as although that would get them extra height, it would also take away their car parking. While that wouldn’t get them as much space as the Vector Arena, they’re not after a huge amount. They could get that if it was replanned sensibly.

29 - 07 - 10

Arthur, what a depressing thought.
Just as I was getting all excited about the possibilities. And besides, surely you are wrong – how could they get a bigger building on site than the one there at present? Wouldn’t there be howls of protest from all and sundry? And where would you move the Inconstant to? And what would happen to Fergs in Shed 6 ?