An email sent to Auckland residents in error discloses plans to put a retractable roof and build new stands at Eden Park.
Eden Park has launched long-term plans for a major redevelopment – including a retractable roof, new North Stand and renovated East and West Stands – at a likely cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in years ahead.
A public briefing on the masterplan, obtained by Newsroom after being prematurely sent out for Eden Park by a local community group, describes the plan as Eden Park 2.0 and a ‘vision for a world-class, multi-purpose, hybrid venue’.
The Eden Park Trust had a confidential briefing with Auckland Council at the March meeting of its governing body, held in closed doors for commercial sensitivity.
But the notice to members of the local Eden Park supporters group, The Hood, which was set-up by the Trust to counter another residents organisation, makes no mention of what funding, if any, this ‘vision’ would rely on. Eden Park’s email Park information is at the bottom of the email, which 10 minutes after being sent out was ‘recalled’.
Auckland Council is at present grappling with a $295 million hole that must be plugged by cuts and asset sales for the 2023/24 financial year, so would be unlikely to entertain direct funding or loans to the Trust. Similarly, the Government promises a no-frills Park next month, with little spending beyond bread-and-butter voter issues during the cost of living crisis.
The premature notice to residents says Eden Park’s plans are due to become public “in the media this morning”.
“With a new North Stand, upgrades to the East and West stands, enhanced entry promenades, a new pedestrian bridge over Sandringham Road, an all-weather retractable roof which guarantees play and broadcast in any weather conditions, multiple fields of play options to accommodate rectangle and oval play formats and cater for different crowd capacities, new function and entertainment spaces, enhanced connectivity, and world-leading innovation, we can ensure Eden Park remains at the forefront of sporting and entertainment venues,” it says.
The email notice indicates the changes would be staged. “We hope you are as excited as we are about Eden Park 2.0. Importantly, establishing a clear vision now, ensures that every improvement, staged upgrade, and development made to the venue forms part of the strategic 2.0 masterplan.”
Eden Park has since 2021 been allowed to stage multiple major music concerts, as well as night rugby and cricket and football, but last year it was cap-in-hand to the Auckland Council seeking a grant of up to $120,000 a week from ratepayers to cover its costs. That plea was declined.
In 2019, the Trust received a $63m bailout from the council – a $53m suite low interest loans and a $10m gift from Auckland ratepayers, the latter against the wishes of then Mayor Phil Goff.
With Mayor Wayne Brown intent on moving the Port of Auckland operations off the downtown waterfront and up to Whangārei, it could be that Eden Park is unveiling its vision to get ahead of any renewed proposal for a new national stadium on ex-port land.
Eden Park issued a statement late Friday evening, after publication of this story, confirming its uncosted, long-term wishlist for Eden Park 2.0.