Major construction began in early May, in what was understood to be the first major local government project in New Zealand to begin post lockdown.
The total cost of the combined Arena redevelopment programme is just over $17.1 million. This includes everything from design, consultation and consenting, professional fees, through to construction. Central Energy Trust has contributed $1,078,000 towards the project, with Council funding the remainder.
Construction will be completed within a year
These three separate projects will be constructed at the same time, but the speedway pits will be completed first, in time for post-Christmas racing. The pits, which line the Cuba Street side of the Arena, will be upgraded to concrete and asphalt surfaces, with water, power and lighting services installed. A green space next to the pits can also be used as a recreational area.
The entrance plaza will be the welcoming point for visitors to the Arena, and includes a large bridge that allows users to walk over the speedway pits on the way to their seats. The embankment work will see a better connection between the seating and grandstand, as well as a large ablution block that has been engineered to hold additional grandstand seating in the future. The plaza and embankment work will be complete in March 2021.
Both the construction and works will have a major economic benefit to our city
The lead contractor, Humphries Construction, is based in Palmerston North and approximately 90 per cent of the subcontractors are also based within the Manawatū. The remaining 10 per cent is due to those products or services not being available locally.
Completed work is a symbol of hope for our city
The results of these major upgrades will bring bigger and better entertainment options and international sporting events to Palmerston North, which will have major flow-on economic impacts for the region.
The Central Energy Trust Arena complex holds around 3,000 events each year and is home to 36 different sporting codes, with Speedway, Rugby, League, Basketball, Volleyball and Netball its main codes. It is arguably the nation's busiest Stadia, much more than the higher profile metro stadiums that are only used a few days a month at best.
This brings in more than 400,000 visitors each year, serving 300,000-plus people in the lower North Island. Many of these people live outside of Palmerston North and come here for an event, stay the night in local accommodation, eat out, and enjoy our recreational activities. In 2018, the NZ Superstock Teams Championships weekend alone contributed $5.2 million to our local economy.
Upgrading this facility will bring in more and bigger events, which will create and sustain jobs in our hospitality industry and provide a significant boost to our local economy.
You can read more about the rationale behind the project and what we aim to achieve in the Central Energy Trust Arena Masterplan.
- Increased participation in sport and recreation
- Showcases how the city and region values sports, activity and social connection
- Reinforces the Arena as one of the best multi-sport facilities in New Zealand
- A fit-for-purpose facility with overlapping functions
- Increased capacity to support sell-out Speedway events
- An attractive facility that will encourage promoters to bring high profile entertainment events to Manawatū
- Improved seating standards and capacity to meet the needs of high profile events and provide an improved viewing experience for fans
- Attracts international, national and local sports competitions and tournaments for all ages
Cuba Street entrance
A welcoming, attractive entrance plaza will draw visitors to the main Arena entrance and ticket gates. A landscaped pedestrian area will connect with Arena 5 and, potentially, hospitality and commercial office space (we're undertaking feasibility studies for this phase of the project).
Phase one of this project will connect the embankment to the existing grandstand. The south embankment will supply services such as toilets, food and beverage mobile units and a hardstand area for current seating.
We plan to build a new grandstand on top of this structure in future (subject to securing external funding).
There are two potential additional projects that strongly link with the speedway pits and the embankment and entrance plaza:
- A new south grandstand
- A commercial building linked to the plaza bridge
We’ve carried out initial concept designs for these projects because they interlink with the three current projects.
New speedway pit facilities have been developed along the southern side of the Arena complex behind the new South Stand, next to Cuba Street, and opened in January 2021. These facilities include a mixture of green space, concrete and asphalt, as well as services paramount to successful speedway operation, such as water, power and lighting.