Last week we published an article about Bellerive Village, and touched on the subject of the Blundstone Arena Redevelopment. Since then, we’ve been to the Century Room for a community information night about the project and seen the plans. Wow!

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - Century Room

Members, corporate and business: Blundstone Arena

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment: New Bellerive Oval

We were already pretty happy to live within striking range of Blundstone Arena. The chance to see Ricky Ponting and the like play cricket is considered gold in our house. Having lived in Melbourne and Adelaide, by comparison the access and overall experience has all been positive. Apart from one unfortunate stint on a wet and muddy hill during an AFL footy match, we having nothing but good stories to tell about the Bellerive sporting venue.

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - Bellerive

Blundstone Arena: Sheffield Shield final

The Blundstone Arena Redevelopment phase, which will be carried out over the next sixteen months, will just be a huge bonus! The information night was presented by Business East and Cricket Tasmania and garnered a sizeable crowd. After a few complimentary drinks and eats, we listened to Stephen McMullen as he displayed all the architectural impressions and blueprints on the big screen.

Stephen McMullen: Man In Charge

Former Hockey Tasmania CEO and responsible for the revamp of the Tasmanian Hockey Centre, Stephen McMullen is now General Manager of Venue Operations and Supervisor of the Blundstone Arena Redevelopment. He’s also a great public speaker, and we came away from the hour-long talk feeling quite excited about the project.

$15 million in funding from the federal government was matched by another $15 million from the state government. When the Blundstone Arena Redevelopment is completed, Tasmania will have an amazing venue with a crowd capacity of 20,000. Every whim of elite footy and cricket teams will be covered in spades, and the plans for media and IT facilities are simply staggering.

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - Cricket Tasmania

Cricket Tasmania: Blundstone Arena Redevelopment

Cricket and Footy: Bellerive Tasmania

The ICC Cricket World Cup will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2015, and Bellerive will need to be ready when that major international event rolls into town. Talk about a fabulous boost for Tasmania! Apparently top-level cricket is already played at Bellerive Oval, the home of the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL, on 55 days each season. That many matches per year combined with a world-class event would warrant the Blundstone Arena Redevelopment.

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - Hobart Hurricanes

Blundstone Arena: Hobart Hurricanes, Big Bash League

On the flip side, the North Melbourne Kangaroos currently play two AFL matches at Bellerive each season. A paltry two matches! Hopefully the coaches, media personnel, umpires and players are suitably impressed by their whiz-bang, customised accommodations (state-of-the-art ice baths, no less) and the decision-makers choose to schedule more AFL matches in Tasmania.

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - North Melbourne Kangaroos

North Melbourne Kangaroos: Blundstone Arena, Bellerive

Corporate Clients and Local Business

Stephen McMullen did mention the word “concert”, so other events may come to Bellerive following the Blundstone Arena Redevelopment. Of course, there’s local cricket and footy teams bound to benefit from many aspects of the new venue. And with a view over parks, beaches and the River Derwent, the hospitality zones will attract customers for a cafe latte, with or without a serve of Tasmanian sport on the side. Rooms available for business and corporate functions sound very grand indeed.

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - Bellerive Oval

Blundstone Arena: Bellerive Beach, Derwent River

It’s exciting times for Tasmania, and the Bellerive community in particular will benefit enormously during the construction period. As Stephen McMullen pointed out, with 300 tradies on location, the local bakeries had better ramp up their production of pies right about now! Tasmanian company VOS Construction will manage the overall redevelopment, with other local companies sub-contracted to work alongside them. We were seated right next to the crew from Howrah Plumbing during the presentation, the blokes charged with the installation of  “a lot” of toilets.

Chef Oli Mellers: Blundstone Arena Function Centre

While the public facilities will be greatly improved upon completion of the project, so too will the catering department. The Blundstone Arena Function Centre already boasts the services of world-class chef Oliver Mellers. Oli has worked at Lords Cricket Ground and with both Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal; now he’s part of the team at Bellerive. He must be very excited about the number and size of commercial kitchens scattered around the venue.

Progress is always accompanied by some hurdles, but hopefully those issues will be resolved. The extension of the Hobart waterfront ferry service to complement existing transport to and from the ground, for example. And the relocation of the Clarence District Cricket Club to a new and improved facility at Kangaroo Bay. Even the rebuilding of the Stuart Spencer Stand at Lauderdale was touted as a possibility.

Blundstone Arena Redevelopment - Lights

Lights: Blundstone Arena Redevelopment, Bellerive

The Blundstone Arena Redevelopment information evening was a great idea and very well-executed. Many people left the Century Room with positive thoughts like those we’ve expressed here.

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Map: Blundstone Arena, Bellerive Tasmania

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