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Developing Eden Park?

Should parts of Eden Park be developed? That’s a possibility the herald has uncovered.

The No 2 ground and cricket pitch at Eden Park will be replaced with residential and commercial buildings of up to nine storeys, according to documents obtained by the Weekend Herald.

The Eden Park Trust Board, weighed down with about $50 million of debt and struggling to pay for future repairs and capital works, is eyeing the No 2 ground as a financial saviour.

The idea is to follow the likes of the home of rugby at Twickenham in London, which have hotels and other operations within their grounds to generate extra income.

The Eden Park board has withheld the latest development plans while the Auckland Council stitches together a stadium strategy.

Part of the strategy involves moving domestic and test cricket to Western Springs, which would free up the No 2 ground for development.

And later on they provide more detail on what could happen

On the Walters Rd side of the No 2 ground, buildings will be no higher than four storeys, and a 40m buffer has been left between buildings and Reimers Rd. The buffer will be used to bus fans to and from the ground.

Site coverage varies from 35 per cent of the four-storey limit fronting Sandringham Rd to 75 per cent for the nine-storey limit against the West Stand.

The plans are outlined in a submission to Auckland Council’s draft Unitary Plan, a 30-year blueprint for the Super City. The submission is also understood to call for doubling the number of night games, holding concerts at Eden Park, and extending night-time hours to attract games such as State of Origin rugby league.

The submission follows an earlier proposal for a range of uses on the No 2 ground, including residential, accommodation, offices, takeaway foods and retail, which was rejected by the council. Said Dr Casey: “If Eden Park develop the No 2 ground, it will have incredible consequences for both residents and business.”

It’s an interesting suggestion. Eden Park is of course right next to the Kingsland station and after the CRL the area will have superb access to the city centre and beyond. In fact it would possibly be one of the best connected locations in Auckland. From a transport and land use point of view it couldn’t get much better.

Eden Park No 2

The biggest concern I would have is that if it was developed that new residents would then start complaining about the impact generated by being right next to a stadium.

Naturally some in the local community seem very against it.

Eden Park Residents’ Association president Mark Donnelly said the ground was already at the maximum level of activities and impacts that the local area could be expected to bear.

He called on the council to strongly support the status quo for the No 2 ground as open space.

Personally I think this is an idea worth exploring, what do you think

60 comments to Developing Eden Park?

  • Simon

    A shame to lose the open space offered by the No. 2 ground, but for cricketing purposes this has already been compromised by the construction of the stands for the RWC. It’s a great location for intensification and transit-oriented develop and if that doesn’t come at the expense of the villas in the area then so much the better. Hopefully the area designated for busses can be more of a pedestrain square than a parking lot. There are good examples of modern stadia around the work that have managed to reduce their monolithic appearance with external design and landscaping of the adjacent area.

    • Glen

      Can’t agree more. Move cricket to Western Springs and develop what is now a prime site for a transit-oriented development. Market the apartments there as the place for your family and friends to gather before walking to watch the game, and for relaxing afterwards to beat the crowds, and watch them sell.

      Will also have the positive externality of more local catchment for the Kingsland shops – the more locals, the more variety of shops are viable. Everyone’s a winner.

  • Loraxus

    Go for it. Then we (ratepayers) might actually see some of the money back (many, many millions) that we loaned them for RWC2011, which isn’t going to be paid back otherwise.

    • Glen

      I have always thought it odd that Auckland’s biggest stadium isn’t used for big outdoor concerts. I wonder what proportion of residents were there before lights were installed…

      BTW is it not a little lazy of the Herald to conflate two essentially separate issues (redevelopment of the No. 2 ground, and night events) into one article?

      • conan

        They are only allowed a certain number (16) of night time events and they are all taken by rugby and cricket. Events have to finish by 10pm. Western Springs is a similar size to Eden Park for concerts and can go later.

        The Herald lazy? Surely not.

  • SDW

    Complaints from new residents would be easy to negate via no complaints covenants over titles about noise, traffic from events etc.

    As a cricket fan I am supportive of the redevelopment of the #2 ground – I’m hoping it could act as an impetus for the development of a proper dedicated cricket venue in the city. plus the rents/ profits generated could be used to help fund the ongoing operation of the stadium. win win.

    • iiq374

      Complaints from new residents are probably irrelevant while the existing residents already constrain the use of the ground.

  • They should have kept the No.2 as a public park, and developed the rest of the site with intensive mixed use housing and commercial… then used the money to build a stadium in a good place. #notthisagain

    • Konrad Kurta

      Word. Carlaw Park would have been perfect.

      • I preferred the Bledisloe Wharf scheme personally, shame the ARC encumbered it with so many riders (SH16 motorway extended on a viaduct to the port, etc) it became impossible.

      • Steve D

        The problem with specialised big stadiums is that they are actually really low-value land uses, since they get used so infrequently. If Bledisloe Wharf could be freed up that would be great, but it’d be effectively prime CBD real estate, not something to waste on a stadium. Build things that would get intensive use every day, like apartments, offices, shops, schools, parks… not a single giant blank shed that people visit 20-30 times a year at most.

        Carlaw Park would have had fairly similar issues with the surrounding residents as Eden Park. Sure, it’s the Domain on one side of it, but there’s a fair bit of medium-density housing just on the other side of the railway.

        I reckon the ideal location for a stadium is a little bit further out from the city centre, but really accessible with mass transit, and central in a regional sense. Eden Park has that, at least, although the neighbours are always going to be an issue. The obvious candidate to me would have been Mount Smart, which could have had really good rail access with a bit of work, certainly at least as good as Wellington’s stadium.

        All that said, what’s done is done and it would be simply insane to throw more good money after bad building a big new stadium anywhere. Eden Park No. 1 is here to stay.

        • Glen

          There are plenty of options that could have been good (but which each had their disadvantages), but in the end, there will be no public investment in a new large-scale stadium until the next major sporting event held in NZ. Maybe 15 years until that happens. In the meantime, I agree with Steve D, we are stuck with Eden Park, compromised as it is. We may as well make the most of it for football codes and move cricket to an actual cricket ground.

        • The city side half of Bledisloe wharf is sometimes used as a carpark for jap imports when a RoRo is in, usually for nothing at all. A stadium has to be a better value use than that. The question is of course if not a stadium, would we be able to build anything else there, like office towers and apartments? still being surrounded by port I think probably not.

          Agree Carlaw would have had similar, if lesser, issues as Eden Park. Not a huge fan of that idea.

          I agree we are stuck with Eden Park so I totally agree with this development to unstick it a bit, as it were. I just hope they have a long term plan in mind for when the No.1 isn’t there either.

          • Steve D

            > The city side half of Bledisloe wharf is sometimes used as a carpark for jap imports when a RoRo is in, usually for nothing at all. A stadium has to be a better value use than that.

            If you deliberately restrict your choices to only “a stadium” or “the existing port carpark”, sure. And it’s easy to imagine that getting that land from the port would have been easier with the pressure of the RWC rather than a woolly long-term desire to expand the CBD. But if you’re just going with what’s easy, well, the easiest option was… expanding Eden Park!

            At least this way we haven’t permanently lost the option to transform that port land later.

            > I agree we are stuck with Eden Park so I totally agree with this development to unstick it a bit, as it were.

            I definitely think cricket should move to Western Springs and the No. 2 be redeveloped, but I’m in two minds about exactly what should happen.

            On the one hand, if the rest of the greater Mount Eden/Kingsland/Morningside area is staying frozen in amber under the Unitary Plan, it’d be a really good idea to use this rare chance to do something more intensive. It’s a great opportunity to do something on a larger site than is normally available – imagine if the whole thing could be a pedestrian-only space!

            On the other hand, if we can get a bit more development approved in the wider area, another possible option for the site, that would pay off in the really long run, would be a new school with some decent outside space. It would serve the large number of new people that we’re hoping will be living in the area. There’s not a lot of other good options around for new schools, really. We can keep adding classrooms to existing schools, but that will only work so long.

          • Well I did ask the question of what else you could build there with the container port staying where it is. I’m not so much deliberately restricting choices as genuinely unable to see any other likely outcome. Yes a big government project like a national stadium for the world cup would have been an easy wedge to drive, unlike some scheme to build a new office development or apartments or whatever.

            People lambasted the idea of an inward looking stadium facility on the waterfront, I say what else would you want surrounded by a container terminal but an inward looking structure?

    • doloras

      Oh yeah, because Wellington and Dunedin have done REALLY well with their big, specialised stadiums in good places.

      • Steve D

        Wellington managed to lose twice, by expensively building a new stadium AND managing to make a total hash of redeveloping the old Athletic Park site.

      • Loraxus

        Also, why spend hundreds of millions (and a new large stadium on the waterfront would probably have cost more than that, once all the attendant other changes like traffic were sorted out) on a sports event stadium? It’s a well-known rort, and the promised economic benefits rarely ever happen. Even if you like the sport, that (professional) sport should really pay for itself, and not be subsidised by the rate/taxpayer.

  • mfwic

    The first draft of the deLeuw Cather report had a thumping great motorway interchange there. They saw a nice open space on the aerial photo and figured the central motorway junction would fit nicely.

    • Greg N

      Pity they didn’t put it there, we could have Moved Eden Park up to near K’Rd on the land they took for the CMJ, think what a totally different City Auckland would be like if they had!

  • Andrew

    The Eden Park Reaidents Association are idiots. I grew up on Bellwood Ave at the time they were jumping up and down about the installation of floodlights. The lights went in, and property values shot up.

  • exaucklanderindydney

    Its like moving next door to the airport then complaining about the aircraft noise. Eden park was there before the residents so stop complaining!

    • thms l

      Many residents were there before “night rugby” was a thing. It used to be one lazy sunday afternoon game a fortnight now they try to pack in as many events on as many nights as possible.

      That said I have no time for NIMBYs. The stadium exists and the area should be intensified.

    • I don’t agree with that argument. Yes Eden Park has been there for a long time. But it was nothing more than a swamp to start with. Then they drained the swamp a bit, then formed proper playing fields, then they built a little stand, then another slightly bigger stand, then the first real one was built for the Empire Games, then they built another bigger stand, then the north stand went in, and then the new ‘international’ south stand… and now there is a huge stadium where once there was a marshy grove of cabbage trees.

      At what point do people lose their right to complain? Is is swamp to lawn, lawn to sports field, sports field to competition ground, competition ground to small stadium, small stadium to big stadium, or big stadium to international stadium?

      At some point people have to accept that Eden Park is the wrong place for a 60,000 seater international stadium, and that local residents have a right to voice their concerns. What is the alternative, say tough shit to anyone that happens to live within 3km of Kingsland? What happens when they want to host the next big thing in ten years and want to add another 20,000 seats?

      I lived in Burnley Tce for a while, and got sick of the disruption of game days, having all the cars towed from our street while it was coned off, not being able to get to my house by bus, etc. Ok, my fault, should have known moving to Sandringham. So I moved to Arch Hill instead, only to find it just as bad there as people would still double park and block the entrance to our street, and all the buses got clogged in stadium traffic. Then I realised how much impact an international stadium in the suburbs has.

      Really unproductive to put a stadium in the wrong place, tell all locals to stop complaining, then continue to make the stadium bigger and bigger and busier all the time.

      • Can’t agree with that. It’s in a fine place, and I used to live in Marlborough St and am not interested in Rugby or Cricket much. Crowds disperse well into the surrounding hood, Kingsland and Dom Rd do well out of it and now we’ve remembered we have a rail line right there we are starting to use that it’s starting to hum. Last thing the harbour needs is a bloody great and infrequently used blockage at its edge. Better things we can do down there.

        • Steve D

          > Crowds disperse well into the surrounding hood, Kingsland and Dom Rd do well out of it

          That’d be equally true of anywhere, really. Would Carlaw Park have made Parnell into more of a nightlife destination at Kingsland’s expense?

          But you really can’t have it both ways. Any stadium handy to a decent neighbourhood is going to be equally handy to neighbours who don’t appreciate it.

          > Last thing the harbour needs is a bloody great and infrequently used blockage at its edge.

          +1.

        • Not really a fine place in my opinion. If by starting to hum you mean “have to shut down the entire western line to run shuttles and stuff anyone not going to the rugby” then sure. That’s kinda my point, it works fine for the stadium crowds, but only by huge impact on the rest of the city.

          “Last thing the harbour needs is a bloody great and infrequently used blockage at its edge. Better things we can do down there.”

          All you’d be doing in blocking the container port from the civic waterfront, that sounds like a good idea to me (note I’m a fan of the Bledisloe scheme, not putting it on Cooks wharf etc). They currently use the land as an at-grade carpark for jap imports.

          • Anyway so much sunk cost it isn’t going anywhere, or rather we aren’t getting a new one. I strongly support the review of all the various stadia together, and this plan; cricket to Western Springs either/both Rugbies at Eden Park with development of the No2 ground to fund them looks good to me…. Where does that leave Mt Smart and North Shore?

          • Well yes, all coulda woulda shoulda at this point. The stadium rationalisation plan seems good, as does this No.2 plan. Mt Smart gets speedway and athletics (not sure which is in the main ground) and Albany stadium remains something of a white elephant…. symptom of North Shore ‘City’ desiring one of everything as a vanity, stadium, theatre, events centre etc… all regional scale facilities for less than 1/5 of the region.

          • Bryce P

            Except that, as the Herald reported, it doesn’t come close to making financial sense for the Warriors to move. I’m a league, and was a long time season ticket holder at Mt Smart. I hate the atmosphere at Eden Park unless it is close to capacity. Why should league have to pitch in to save the huge sunk cost at Eden Park when it fails to make financial sense.

        • Jacques

          I did too, and totally agree with this. The major nuisance for me wasn’t the people or the matches (which were really never a problem), but Auckland Transport’s parking wardens and the way they wrongly towed my car while I had a resident sticker, ruining the side panel, bumper and lights in the process.

      • conan

        It’s only 50,000. 60,000 for RWC. Of course it’s filled to that capacity about 3 times a year. You’d be lucky to get 10,000 to a Blues game. There were around 20,000 there on Saturday for the Warriors.

        • James

          “Of course it’s filled to that capacity about 3 times a year.” – True, although I think you’ll find that the Blues have around double that at an average game – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Blues_season – at least according to wikipedia.

          However I think people need to realise that Eden Park is not a “big” stadium, and that there are dozens of similarly sized stadiums in similarly sized (or smaller) cities that are full on a regular basis. Eden Park just seems “big” because professional sports are poorly organised in New Zealand and fail to attract reasonable crowds.

          Personally I’m against cricket being given its own ground, though if it does go ahead then Western Springs seems like the best option – not that it will do anything to help cricket attract crowds.

  • northshoreguynz

    i’d love to see the cricket move to Victoria Park, but can see why that won’t happen.

  • James B

    The problem will be Auckland Cricket. As the original owner of the ground they have deep roots and would resist a move. It should also be noted that like most professional sports cricket is rather cash poor so they would need a financial incentive to move. Having said that I think a move to Western Springs would be great. Initially a small ground with an embankment and a small stand suitable for domestic and test cricket, followed by a larger stand for ODIs would be a great asset for the city.

    • SDW

      the ACA get a return on all revenue from Eden Park (even from rugby matches) so it would be interesting to see what kind of impact the removal of the no2 ground would have on this arrangement. presumably the ACA will get a share of any profits from the development in any event.

    • Glen

      The council has been consulting on the stadium strategy (in brief, moving cricket to Western Springs, speedway to Mt Smart and having more Warriors games at Eden Park) and was going to vote on it this week IIRC.

      Suffice to say that as a cricket fan (who also likes football codes) I think the Western Springs move is a brilliant idea. A boutique stadium for cricket, big grass bank with just one stand is ideal for domestic and test cricket. Temporary seats can be added for ODIs and T20s.

      Eden Park as it is has too many seats for the crowds even international cricket draws to NZ, and the playing surface is too small for cricket. (not to mention the difference in quality of play on a drop-in pitch vs a proper bedded-in strip).

      Cricket moving to Western Springs is better for everyone.

      • mfwic

        It is too small for cricket and too big for rugby. You end up sitting miles back from the action. North Harbour is a far better layout for rugby. They threw good money after bad by upgrading it.

        • Glen

          Exactly. The row of removable seats isn’t enough to create a large enough playing area for cricket, and can’t bring the spectators close enough for rugby. Eden Park as it is is fundamentally flawed. However, we’re stuck with it.

          Just a pity that NZers have to go to Brisbane (Suncorp), Melbourne (AAMI), or further afield to experience the cauldron-like atmosphere that a proper rectangular stadium (and the steeper the stands, the better) can create.

    • Greg N

      What about Colin Maiden in GI park now that AC own it outright (as of last year).
      They used for a T20 ground, when Eden Park was being upgraded for RWC and it worked ok then.
      With proper facilities it could become a really great cricket ground, with PT access nearby via GI (and Tamaki Station too maybe, one day)

      • Provided the clubs based there can still use it then it’s not a bad idea. But there’s still a good half km walk from the train station to the actual ground.

        • Greg N

          And remind me, Western Springs is how close to a train station?

          500m walk to the trains at GI is same or less than the walk from Eden park to Kingsland surely?

          • Bryce P

            Not a bad idea. Cant imagine the cricket club being too happy with concerts in their pitch over summer. Western Springs is the best large outdoor concert arena in Auckland bar none.

          • Steve D

            Kingsland is right next door. Maybe 200m from the westbound platform to the front gate? Considerably shorter than the walk you have to do within Eden Park to get to your seat.

            On the other hand, Mount Smart is well over a kilometre from Penrose station but the trains still seem to get plenty of use (when they run them, that is).

        • Dayne

          I think in NZ we tend to overstate the significance of walking distances from PT to stadiums, because we’re so accustomed to driving everywhere and expecting a park on the doorstep. I’ve been to Lord’s and the nearest tube is about 1km away, most of the others 1.5km. I’ve also been to Wembley and that’s about 1km from the nearest tube. Provided we make the walking routes to Colin Maiden Park friendly, I don’t think distance from the station should be a major factor to consider.

  • iiq374

    It’s great to see that we’re continuing to put our money and effort into our publicly owned stadium that borders two train lines; has access to 2 of our motorways; and is unencumbered by noise / operating time restrictions.
    Oh sorry; we’re not.

  • exaucklanderindydney

    Its like moving next door to the airport then complaining about the aircraft noise. Eden park was there before the residents so stop complaining

  • Jacques

    Great project! Lucky Mr Mark Donnelly isn’t in a position of power. If his way of thinking was generalised throughout Auckland, all development would freeze and the city would become a sort of retirement village, before turning into a ghost town. It’s too bad residents associations always seem to oppose development.

  • Sailor Boy

    I really think this needs to go ahead. If the residents don’t want intensive development 2 stations from the CBD then they need to move.

  • Tony L

    umm remember the rugby world cup ? Remember how redevelopment of Eden Park and development of an iconic stadium elsewhere was scoffed at. Seems like the city has lost its short term memory. In reverence to the holy Eden Park turf the lamentable decision was made to have a half baked stadium and no development of what is the perfect site for intensive residential. It hasn’t taken long for the bean counters to come around to the kaching of the Auckland residential property frenzy. Hark………..is that a waterfront stadium proposal docking at Queens wharf.

  • Christopher T

    Let them develop the no. 2 ground; move one of the historic stands to Victoria Park and the other to Western Springs; pay off the debt to AC and fund a properly thought out solution to the railway conundrum that doesn’t mean the closure of the Western Line every time there’s an international game, etc.

  • Just some guy

    My opinion is formulated from playing sport at stadiums from Northland to Wellington including specific code compliant venues like North Harbour, Waikato and Athletic Park. I have also played/attended venues in the UK, Europe and Americas. We are in a modern age where professional sport as a business should pay for itself. Auckland has forever needed a central and transport accessed rubgy/league/soccer staduim being used up to 3 days a week during season with alternative seasonal use via concerts and the like. The concept of cricket paying its own way or a venue comprising design is the sacrifice in NZ we have to make. The corporate dollar is to powerful to deny that a city location will embrace Thur, Fri and Sat games (or Sun) Vicky Park seems most logical with its current provisions moved to a future tank farm option. Much like the CRL or Road/Motorway investment the decision should be economical not emotional.

  • Correct, because the two things are not, despite what you might think, the same.

    If people were proposing a 60,000 seater international stadium for Northcote Point then I would likewise suggest that is the wrong location and campaign against it. Conversely if people were proposing a cycleway for Sandringham I would be right behind it.

    Making a reason evaluation of two very different scenarios and arriving at two different conclusions doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it’s closer to the opposite.

    Oh and FYI I think you mean hypocrite, which has nothing to do with Hippocrates.

  • But the value of Stadia, like Casinos and a convention Centres, are routinely overstated for city centres. They have episodic use and tend to attract more ‘captured’ customers than ones that then go on to spread their love around. That is certainly the case when they have huge amounts of attached parking, as Shoup showed is the case with the Disney Centre in LA. And is a huge flaw with Sky City, almost certain to be repeated with the Convention Centre.

    Eden Park has very little parking, great walk up, and is extremely close to a rail line that will soon have expanded capacity and frequency and really attractive trains. What’s not to like? Auckland is big enough to have attractions like this spread around.

    Western Springs could be developed at little expense into a great cricket ground with the sylvan charm of English County grounds.

  • Geoff Houtman

    Good idea. The #2 field has got small and the Cricket crowd have a great new start in the Springs amphitheatre.

    Perhaps the most amazing thing when you compare an aerial shot to most other stadiums in the world is that it is NOT surrounded by hectares of parking. Just a train station. Makes a nice change..

  • The Warriors decision to stay at Mt Smart compounds the catastrophe that is Eden Park post the 2011 Rugby world cup…

    $50 million in debt for a stadium that only makes 2.2 million operating profits annually. It’s a joke. The only tenants who want to use it are the AB’s, and that’s only once or twice a year. And that’s only because they sell it out. Nobody else in Auckland wants to play in a ground that’s too big for rugby and too small for cricket. Also it’s too residential for rock concerts. FML.

    Why didn’t we go the extra distance and build a football-only stadium on the Waterfront when we had the chance. It would have cost more, but the Warriors would move there, the Blues would attract bigger crowds there, and if it was covered like Dunedin we’d get probably 10 more major rock concerts a year.

    How awesome has Vetor arena been. It’s right next to the train station and thousands of car parks. It’s indoors so we can get all the medium sized concerts tours that hit Eastern Australia during our rainy season. Brilliant. Why can’t we think like that about everything that happens in Auckland? I’ve got a few opinions on that question that I won’t share here.

    Auckland City is truly screwed on this one, and the Warriors aren’t going to come to the rescue of the White Elephant that is Eden Park.

    Who makes the decision to upgrade a suburban sports ground to 50,000 capacity anyway? There’s no parking. There’s no easy motorway access. The neighbors hate it. It’s a zero atmosphere echo chamber with less than 30,000 fans. If the AB’s didn’t win every time they play there it would be the most hated suburban multi-sports stadium in the world.

  • Kiwi in Perth

    Agree eddiewano.
    Its only full for ABs games ONCE a year. It cant be used for concerts due to noise which further restrict its profit making ability.. 2.2million profits don’t seem to be enough to cover the yearly operating cost.Its a gigantic loss making machine that the Auckland ratepayers subsidies. Deluded rugby heads are looking at it with rose tinted glasses. So what if it has a train station. Its a black hole for rate payers money and it cant be used for anything else except rugby and the odd game of league.

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