Five expensive America's Cup base options decided

Between $140-190 million will be spent on creating team bases for the next America’s Cup.

The options for the team bases have been narrowed down to five on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour wharves from Halsey St to Captain Cook Wharf.

The cost will be shared by Auckland Council and government, although the private sector is expected to contribute significantly, so the cost and risk come down for ratepayers. The government is expected to consider its involvement by next month with a decision due early next year.  

A council workshop was held today to discuss the options in detail.

All the wharves will need extensions into the harbour. Two of the options do not have agglomerated bases and are split.

Captain Cook Wharf has been virtually ruled out because of the problems that would create for the cruise industry while construction is being carried out, and for Ports of Auckland which would have to move its car business, and the ferries and other boats in the harbour creating problems for launching the America’s Cup yachts.

Team New Zealand prefers Halsey Wharf with bases agglomerated, which is the most expensive option.

Captain Cook Wharf, meanwhile, is the cheapest option.

It is also easiest to build the bases on one platform.

The council’s governing body will make a decision on a final preferred option in 10 days.

Resource consent will be lodged under a fast-track procedure in January next year in time for construction to start in June/July so the bases are completed by the time the first teams arrive in summer of 2019.

The fast-track resource consent procedure involves a normal consent process but it is then sent straight to the Environment Court for a decision.

Council-controlled Panuku Development has led the work and its design and place director Rod Marler is confident the council will get a resource consent in time after technical experts undertook a robust evaluation of the possible locations.

The locations were evaluated on three criteria – the ability to meet the construction deadline, the ability to meet the requirements of the events such as security and an event village, and the extent to which any investment will leave a legacy for Auckland and New Zealand.

Auckland tops the list as host for the 2021 America’s Cup races but team chief executive Grant Dalton made it clear in September that the construction of new infrastructure in Auckland must be confirmed and begun by the end of August next year. The total size of the team bases required by the syndicates is 30,000sq m.

It is expected the event will bring in between $550-977 million for New Zealand and $450-850 million for Auckland.

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