The NSW government has backflipped on its decision to demolish and rebuild two sports stadiums in Sydney, announcing that it will instead refurbish the 85,000-seat ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park, designed by Populous and Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture in 1999, at a cost of $810 million.
The Allianz Stadium at Moore Park, designed by Cox Architecture and built in 1988, will, however, still be demolished and rebuilt at a cost of $729 million.
The decision to raze the stadiums sparked fierce backlash from the community. An online petition launched by sports commentator Peter Fitzsimmons has gathered more than 200,000 signatures, and the Sydney Morning Herald reports that government MPs have expressed concerns about the demolition policy.
“We are a Government that does its homework and listens to the public,” said NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian. “Our thorough homework means that we can deliver a world class rectangular stadium at Sydney Olympic Park without knocking down ANZ Stadium, save $500 million, and complete the rebuild two years earlier than previously scheduled.”
In a statement, the government said, “Detailed work undertaken by Infrastructure NSW has shown a 75,000 seat ANZ Stadium ‘knock down rebuild’ would cost $1.33 billion, which was more than the previous estimates.”
It had previously stated the replacement of ANZ Stadium would cost $1.25 billion.
The government said after it received a final business case from Infrastructure NSW, it made the decision that to rebuilt Allianz Stadium was the best option.
The business case stated, “Refurbishing the current stadium would require significant investment ($714.5 million) for a relatively poor outcome.”
The business case found that the refurbishment option would result in a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of 0.62, while building a new 40,000-seat stadium would cost an estimated $750 million with a BCR of 0.93 and a 45,000-seat stadium would cost an estimated $775 million with a BCR of 0.94.
Work on Allianz Stadium will begin in late 2018 and is expected to be completed by March 2022. The new stadium will be designed to have a 50-year lifespan.