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ATEED committed to screen precinct concept

ATEED, 12 November 2015: Auckland’s economic growth agency remains committed to working alongside the region’s booming screen industry to develop an internationally competitive screen production studio complex, following today’s decision by the Auckland Development Committee (ADC) to earmark council land at Hobsonville Point for housing and commercial development rather than a proposed screen precinct.
 
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) chief executive Brett O’Riley says: “More than 20 local and international businesses, from international studios to tertiary institutions, from ancillary support industries to financial services, expressed interest in being part of a precinct.
 
“The process of developing the Hobsonville proposal created a sense of momentum for growth which ATEED is determined to hold on to even if the concept at Hobsonville is no longer on the table.
 
“The screen sector in Auckland has told us that being involved in discussions about the infrastructure our industry requires to grow, and the Hobsonville proposal itself, has united them in an unprecedented positive way. Senior industry representatives who we have involved in this journey want us to keep pushing for a cluster or precinct concept.
 
“There is no doubt that the potential exists for a world-class screen ecosystem, including film, TV, gaming, animation and training, to thrive in Auckland in the right location, one which can support and grow the screen production industry which earned about $650 million revenue in the 2014/15 year and employed thousands of people directly or indirectly – many in high-value jobs.
 
“One thing this process has shown is that there is gold in Auckland’s screen production sector beyond our traditional domestic and US markets. There is great interest from China and other emerging markets in the precinct. Doing nothing is not an option.”
 
ATEED had proposed 10ha of council land at Hobsonville be used for a Screen Innovation and Production Precinct, and in July was given until 31 October to deliver a deal for the ADC to consider at today’s meeting.
 
The Auckland Investment Office, which led the negotiations on behalf of council with two preferred parties selected through an international procurement process, reported to the ADC that it was unable to finalise a commercially viable deal by the deadline.
 
“We are naturally disappointed, as we believe a deal was close and could have been finalised within six months. But we now know that additional time was required to get a deal across the line given the complexity of the deal which would have to be put together – involving multiple agencies and the private sector,” says Brett O’Riley.
 
He says ATEED’s focus on a precinct concept reflects council’s Economic Development Strategy which states council “will support and deliver the development of an internationally competitive screen-production studio complex, accommodating latest sector requirements”.

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