Wellington combined convention centre and movie museum

Stuff reports:

Wellington will host a combined convention centre and museum, with backers comparing it to a “Disneyland” in the capital.

Wellington City Council is expected to approve a land purchase for the $134.4 million project on Tuesday, hoping to give the region’s economy a multi-million dollar boost.

The three-storey building on Cable and Wakefield streets will include a 6000sqm convention centre on the top floor, capable of hosting 1100 people, and a 10,000sqm museum on the bottom two floors.

Sounds exciting. The museum is an awesome idea.

1,100 capacity for a convention centre seems pretty small. That’s around the same as the Michael Fowler Centre.

Construction will start next year and is expected to be completed by 2018.  

The Museum Limited, a company formed Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, will run the museum which will feature many props from the two Wellington film stalwarts own considerable collection.

Positively Wellington Venues will manage the convention centre.

Great. But will the rent they pay cover the interest on the $134 million? Not against a ratepayer contribution as both these facilities would attract tourism, but want to know how much.

Museum project Director George Hickton said it would draw from one of the most valuable collections of Hollywood memorabilia in the world, with thousands of the priceless designs, props, models and set pieces.

The museum will have permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, a retail shop, cafe and permanent offices.

Again sounds great.

A new convention centre was needed because existing facilities in the city were aging, too small and often not available. 

True, but is 1,100 enough?

The project was already funded within the Long Term Plan but council would consult because the museum was being brought forward by four years. It would have no effect on the ratepayers, Wade-Brown said.

Council has said that the construction alone would provide 440 jobs, with another 568 ongoing jobs created by the centre.

The project was expected to contribute $36m per annum to the Wellington economy and attract about 350,000 visitors a year. 

Always have some scepticism over these projections, but I am sure both will be beneficial.

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