20 years of Sky City

The Herald reports:

The Sky Tower has overcome early scepticism to become an iconic image of the Super City, more photographed than Rangitoto Island, Auckland Harbour Bridge or One Tree Hill when it still had its lone pine. It is ubiquitous and disparaging labels from its early days, such as The Hypodermic, are seldom heard.

“Can you image the Auckland cityscape without the Sky Tower?” asks Nigel Morrison, SkyCity Entertainment Group’s chief executive. “You wouldn’t be able to identify it. Every photo you see has it in there. It has been embraced.”

It has become iconic, and I recall all the sneering and opposition to it, when first proposed. It now seems to have been with us forever, but in reality is just 20 years old.

SKYCITY IS a city within the city. It operates around the clock, employs 3500 people, and, come 2019 when the convention centre opens, will cover three downtown blocks.

That’s a lot of jobs.

Watching it grow are neighbours, St Matthew-In-The City and the Auckland City Mission.

Odd bedfellows you might think. “We are sandwiched between SkyCity and the City Mission,” says Reverend Helen Jacobi. “You find on one side the poorest of the poor and on the other the richest of the rich. That’s the kind of world we live in.” But, says Jacobi, look past the incongruity of a house of the Lord sitting next to the country’s biggest gambling den and SkyCity is a good neighbour, in fact they are business buddies. The church uses SkyCity’s catering for some of its own events and hosts functions for casino customers who want a different style of venue. “They are a good business partner for us, for a dinner, a cocktail function or a concert or whatever.

“Obviously we would have concerns, not on the morality but the damage to lives that can occur. I don’t think we would have an opinion on gambling per se but we know that people get addicted to gambling and we know that it can damage lives … but we live in the real world and is more than gambling, it is hotels and convention centre and restaurants. “The church is here for those people as much as it is for our [other] neighbours at the city mission.”

What a sensible approach.

About two-thirds of the company’s revenue comes from gaming, the rest from hotel rooms, hospitality and non-gaming entertainment.

Would be interesting to know the profitability on each.

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