SkyCity Eight & Horizons Lounge Hero

Eight and Horizons Sky City: creating high-yielding gaming space

Since opening its original Auckland casino on 2 February 1996, Skycity Entertainment Group has expanded its operations to several New Zealand and Australian cities, including Queenstown, Christchurch, Hamilton, Adelaide and Darwin.

The company engaged Hawkins to construct its $27 million Auckland premium gaming experience above its existing hotel development. This houses 1,800m² of additional high-end gaming space and includes 850m² of refurbished hotel rooms which have been converted into boutique suites and salons.

Skycity Entertainment Group’s aim:

  • To create high yielding gaming space comprising:
    • a new venue for qualified gamers, or those with a history of spending (Eight)
    • discreet, luxurious gaming areas alongside rooms with lounge access so gamblers can visit the venue privately (Horizons). 

What we did:

This fast track development went from conception to completion in nine months. It was finished to coincide with the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The design brief for Eight, the VIP main gaming floor and restaurant, was to maximise the asset in terms of building height. Horizons, the private gaming salons and suites, are located within an existing hotel floor with limited floor to ceiling height.

The addition of two new floors created a significant structural design challenge to satisfy seismic requirements without affecting the existing structure.

The construction techniques we employed sought to maximise the construction activities within an ultra-fast track timeframe. Round the clock shifts from pool deck demolition onwards enabled the primary structure to be erected in record time.

Access for both personnel and construction materials during construction was provided by the use of a 9 storey wall climber construction lift bolted onto the external façade.

Unique challenges:

  • The hotel is located in a very busy inner city area, which resulted in a number of logistical and access challenges. There was no lay-down area for material deliveries, which required careful planning and “just-in-time” delivery to minimise road closures and crane lifts. We erected a small tower crane on top of the existing structure, which was used to lower demolition material from the existing swimming pool and to lift general construction materials to level 9.
  •  It was vital that the hotel rooms beneath the new levels remained waterproof throughout the construction period. This required temporary waterproofing to be put in place.
  • We monitored noise levels carefully throughout the project and ensured no noisy work was carried out during the morning or afternoon.
  • The fast-track nature of the project meant careful planning was required. We put in place round the clock shifts. The contract was awarded on 23rd December 2010, site establishment commenced on the 3 January 2011 and the project was completed on 12 August 2011. In order to get the most out of the short duration the project was staged with the fit-out of Horizons progressing ahead of ‘Eight’, allowing the Horizon Salons and suites to be handed over several weeks ahead of programme.

 The outcome:

SKYCITY had a strong result in the 2012 financial year with 14.4% revenue growth. International revenues accounted for $50.7M in Auckland, up from $26M the previous year.  The encouraging result was underpinned by the strong opening of Horizon and Eight. International business has trebled since FY10 with international gaming clientele visiting from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.