Whangarei:Jobs and economic benefit in Hundertwasser project

Press Release – Whangarei District Council

Investigations into the proposed Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei by high-powered international consultancy Deloitte have shown it would create 32 jobs and make cash surpluses of more than $500,000 a year.17 November 2011

Jobs and economic benefit in Hundertwasser project

Investigations into the proposed Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei by high-powered international consultancy Deloitte have shown it would create 32 jobs and make cash surpluses of more than $500,000 a year.

The Deloitte report commissioned by Whangarei District Council examines the centre’s feasibility and its economic impact and predicts the centre would attract 160,000 visitors annually and inject an additional $3.5 million a year into Northland’s economy.

Deloitte concluded the Hundertwasser Art Centre presented “a unique opportunity to develop one of New Zealand’s truly iconic buildings”, which would start to deliver a positive return on investment in the District within a period of four years on the construction cost of $13.7 million.

“The development may also put Whangarei on the international map for visitors interested in such a unique structure or Hundertwasser’s other art works,” Deloitte said.

The Hundertwasser project at the former Northland Harbour Board building at the Town Basin is based on designs for the building made by acclaimed Austrian artist and Northland resident Friedensreich Hundertwasser in 1993.

Hundertwasser called himself an “architecture doctor” who “cured” buildings into being more in harmony with nature and the creativity of man. His colourful architectural makeovers of buildings in Europe and Japan are international tourist attractions.

The Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation in Vienna regards the Whangarei project as the last authentic Hundertwasser building in the world, and fully supports the development of the Art Centre.

The centre would be home to Hundertwasser original artworks worth millions of dollars but loaned by the foundation free of charge, and would also house a major gallery of Maori art as a sales outlet for the best Northland Maori artists.

Deloitte projects the art centre having admission revenue in excess of $1 million a year based on ticket prices of $12 for adult national and international visitors, but $6 for Whangarei District residents.

Whangarei District Council CEO Mark Simpson welcomed the Deloitte reports’ findings, which he said offered a sound basis for discussion on the Hundertwasser project, due to be consulted upon in the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan process.

“Council commissioned the Deloitte reports to assist the community in considering the Hundertwasser project.

“The art centre would be a major cultural asset to the District, but we also needed credible projections of its contribution to our economic growth.

“An earlier study concluded the centre would bring $3.7 million growth to Northland’s economy, and Deloitte’s finding is in line with this. We now feel we have some certainty that the forecasts of the centre’s impact can be taken to the community to help it offer an informed opinion on the merits of the project,” Mr Simpson said.

Deloitte had taken a very conservative approach to the studies, he said, and the reports’ findings and conclusions would help focus debate on the project.

“The community now has economic information to help its consideration of the value of the proposed Hundertwasser Art Centre to the community.

“The Deloitte reports are critical to the debate on the project, and they would also be a critical tool for Council to use in seeking outside funding. Government and other funders want credible and conservative assessments of projects, and Deloitte’s findings would carry great weight with funding agencies.

“The Hundertwasser project has provenance and point of difference, and Deloitte has recognised this in concluding it offers Whangarei significant economic and cultural benefits,” Mr Simpson said.

Council will discuss the Deloitte reports at its meeting on Wednesday, 23 November. The Deloitte reports are available on Council website www.wdc.govt.nz and available for reading at Council libraries.


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