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Grand standing - another stadium proposal
Sunday October 22, 2006
By Miles Erwin

It might have been conceived over a few beers but the architects of this futuristic $600 million development are stone-cold sober when they say it should be added to the list of stadium projects considered for the World Cup 2011.

The spaceship-like stadium planned to "hover" above the waters of the Manukau Harbour brings the number of stadium proposals to host the 2011 final to at least six, with several other loose concepts in the mix. The ambitious 70,000-seat stadium was dreamed-up by Auckland architects Pete Bossley and Barry Copeland over a few ales. They have formed the Bossley Copeland company to promote the idea.

"We were talking about the abysmal options available for the stadium and we thought, 'we'll look at it'. And we came up with this fantastic idea," said Copeland.

He said the stadium has several advantages: it is close to road and rail links; it's built away from residential areas; and there are no restrictions from other buildings. Copeland sees the stadium as a truly long-term development that looks beyond 2011. He said the stadium will revitalise an area that is the future of Auckland, likening the stadium to developments in London's Docklands that brought new life there. He said there was one other critical advantage over a waterfront stadium or upgrading Eden Park.

"We're talking about putting something where people want it rather than where people don't want it," he said.

Copeland anticipates few barriers to developing the stadium - being built over water means it's unlikely to have residents objections. He said the site has unlimited potential.

"There's space for it to breathe. There's space to build something that's state-of-the-art, world class because it's a blank canvas. It's not hemmed in with having to deal with existing buildings and reclamation."

But such big plans inevitably come with big price tags.

The Manukau stadium would cost almost twice as much as the other options - primarily because it would be built over water.

The Manukau stadium is the latest in a number of proposals in the past month, kick-started by the announcement of plans for a stadium on Bledisloe Wharf in the CBD in September. There are at least four serious proposals and many other venues mentioned.

Contenders and pretenders include North Harbour Stadium, a Victoria Park proposal, and Mt Smart.

Other options such as Carlaw Park and Avondale Raceway have been touted but no plans have been drawn up.

The frontrunners are the redevelopment of Eden Park or the waterfront stadium. The Government has said it is keen on the Bledisloe Wharf site but if that option fails, will back Eden Park.