ANZ has offered to sell the Olympic Stadium back to the state government for $100 million because it is fed up with a lack of government investment in the project. It may have showcased Sydney to the world in 2000 but ANZ Stadium is in danger of turning into the white elephant it was always feared it would be. ANZ, which has a lease from the government over the Homebush stadium until 2031, offered to sell it back for $100 million but Treasury officials blocked the move, arguing it did not make enough of a profit.
The stadium makes a small profit - between $10 and $30 million a year - but the owners argued that, without a huge investment, it risked being in a state of disrepair and completely out of date when it reverted back to the government in 18 years. The company wants a $250-$300 million upgrade of the stadium which would include installing a roof, putting retractable seats at either end to allow it to have a rectangular shape for rugby league, union and soccer and bars and restaurants built around the site.
The government indicated there was not enough money in the budget for such an upgrade so, after months of discussion, ANZ suggested selling the stadium back early to government. “We’re disappointed the government didn’t get their head around it (buying it back) because it’s a really solid proposal but it could be revisited,” ANZ Stadium chief executive Daryl Kerry said. "If they want to run it into the ground that is their prerogative but I can’t allow that to happen under my watch. "It would be detrimental to our business and NSW. “Clearly they have found some money more recently in upgrading the SCG.”
Mr Kerry said the lease structure meant there was no benefit to the owners of the stadium in spending their own money on upgrades because it would shortly be back in government hands. “There’s no obligation for us to undertake some major developments. (There’s no obligation) other than to make sure it operates and it’s in reasonable condition,” Mr Kelly said. He said the stadium was expecting its best year ever in 2013.
But, after long talks with the government, it had decided the best option was to sell it back early. Sports Minister Graham Annesley fought hard to attempt to get the sale through, arguing the state would be better off making profit from the stadium and owning it outright now, given at some stage it will have to do works to upgrade it. But Treasury blocked him in the Expenditure Review Committee. Mr Annesley confirmed there was an offer to government to sell the stadium back but would not comment further.
More than 17 million fans have walked through the ANZ Stadium turnstiles since the venue’s grand opening in 1999. It housed 110,000 spectators for the Olympics but now has a maximum capacity of 83,500. That makes it smaller in capacity than the MCG, which holds up to 100,000 people.
Between 2010 and 2012, the stadium had 3.9 million spectators, including to several large rock concerts, while the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium or Allianz Stadium had a combined total of 3.5 million spectators in the same period.
Posted using RoarFEED 2013