Day At The Track

Alexandra Park to be new home for the Blues

09:54 AM 03 Feb 2015 NZDT
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Auckland Blues Alexandra Park
Auckland Blues
Alexandra Park

Alexandra Park chief executive Dominique Dowding is delighted to confirm her harness racing club’s official partnership with the Blues which will see Alexandra Park become the long-term home of the popular Super 15 rugby franchise by the end of this year.

Her comments follow both Alexandra Park and the Blues formally committing to a 15-year lease which will see the Blues build a high performance training and administration centre at Alexandra Park near Campbell Crescent and develop a practice field in the middle of the track.

This follows an Auckland Trotting Club Special General Meeting in September last year where club members formally ratified the board proposal after the overwhelming majority voiced strong support for the leasing arrangement.

The agreement will see the construction of a world-class stand-alone facility including a high-tech gym and the development of a training field in the park’s inner-track complete. The resource consent has been obtained, with the building consent pending. The cost of the new centre is budgeted at $4m plus fit-out.

Dominique Dowding: "Getting the Blues is another really exciting development for our club which will help sustain and grow harness racing in this wonderful and unique central Auckland location."

For Alexandra Park, this news comes on top of members last year voting to support transforming part of the club’s car-park into a urban lifestyle village dubbed ‘223 Green Lane West’ with boutique retail stores and 231 apartments coming to market in the coming weeks, with those interested in that residential development registering at www.apliving.co.nz. For both projects Alexandra Park says it has worked closely and positively with Auckland Council.

Ms Dowding says rugby is not a completely new thing for the area. Formerly known as Potter's Paddock, Alexandra Park hosted the 14th All Blacks test, won 29-0 by New Zealand over the British and Irish Lions in 1908 in front of 12,000 people.

"So let’s just say over 100 years on, rugby is making a bit of comeback at Alexandra Park. The club is very excited and there are a lot of synergies we can both gain from each other. Let’s not forget we’re both in the business of sport and we both attract a good Auckland following - harness racing at Alexandra Park mostly on a Friday night and the Blues more so on Saturday.

"We also hope to develop a closer marketing relationship where we can both support each other’s codes, including getting some of Blues players along to the Friday Night Trots when they’re not busy the next day.

"Like the Blues, we’re really excited at the enormous opportunities to engage the community with the new facilities and training ground, particularly when you consider all the nearby schools."

Ms Dowding pays tribute to the leadership of the Blues who she says have been great to work with and to her commercially-focused board at the Auckland Trotting Club ably led by President Kerry Hoggard.

This year Alexandra Park celebrates 125 years of racing on its Epsom site.

Reprinted with permission of Voxy.co.nz

 

 

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