Work on this first stage of a new, 20-year master plan for the arena is expected to start in July and be completed in six years, says John Lynch, Venues & Events Palmerston North.
‘What this is going to do for conferencing and functions is create additional spaces and make the Arena precinct more accessible and attractive and give it a front door.’
The Boulevard, involving plantings, green spaces, walkways and fewer car parks, will extend 600 metres from the Arena, along Cuba Street and will transform the linkage with the CBD, he adds.
The massive Arena complex already hosts some 3000 events booking a year, ranging across speedway, rugby, indoor sports, conferences and ‘very large dinners’, from 500 to 1500 people, says Lynch.
‘What we really prioritise are the economic benefits of what we can bring to the city. It’s about our bottom-line reporting. We work closely with CEDA to ensure the business we can attract brings more people to the city’s accommodation and restaurants for the betterment of everyone.’