ANZ Stadium at Homebush hopes to tackle of the biggest complaints about watching sport there – that the action on field is too far away – with a $350 million redevelopment of the site unveiled on Tuesday.
The dramatic makeover of the 80,000 seat venue, built for the 2000 Olympics, would also include a retractable roof that could be open or closed in 20 minutes. The goal end grandstands would move to within 5 metres of the field of play and seating could even form an arc for AFL and cricket. Owners Stadium Australia Group also want to be able to turn it into “Intimate Mode” for smaller events and create an entertainment precinct with new bars, cafes and restaurants in a bid to get people to engage with the otherwise windswept space on a daily basis.
The design bid to revedelop the stadium has come from Australia’s largest privately-owned engineering and construction company, Laing O’Rourke, which build the Brisbane and Darwin Convention Centres, and were program managers for the London 2012 Olympics.
Stadium Australia is hoping to jag at least $250 million in taxpayer funds from the Baird Government towards the project and attract other investors to contribute the balance. It wants an extention of its lease to 2031, when the venue is due to return to public ownership, for an additional 30 years to 2061. Construction work is proposed to begin after the 2016 NRL Grand Final and finished in time for State of Origin 2018. It’s also designed to coincide with the opening of the WestConnex motorway and the NSW government is being lobbied to extend the light rail corridor between Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park.
ANZ Stadium managing director Daryl Kerry said sporting infrastructure in Sydney had fallen behind other states and major cities in the Asia-Pacific region.
“While ANZ Stadium has served Sydney well, it must undergo a significant redevelopment to ensure it continues to attract major events for Sydney and NSW and meet the expectations of today’s players and fans. The design concepts developed by Laing O’Rourke are exceptional and will provide Sydney with one of the greatest multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadiums in the world,” he said.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned into the economic benefits of the stadium claims that the redevelopment would add an additional $173m to $474m in annual activity.