Plans for multi-billion-dollar Auckland stadium unveiled

Plans for a multi-billion-dollar stadium with a view of one of Auckland's most impressive landmarks have been unveiled.

It's one of a handful of options being looked at by the council that could transform the city's downtown area.

It could be our biggest city's biggest drawcard. A 50,000-seat stadium - pitched as Tāmaki Makaurau's very own Sydney Opera House.

"Talking about $4.5 billion... I don't want it to sound like these are just drawings. I mean companies don't invest hundreds and thousands of dollars creating what we've got today without having the substance as well," said project director Jim Doyle.

There would be an All Blacks-themed hotel, part of a whole new precinct - the design of which is a finalist in the World Architecture Festival Awards.

It would go in a deserted carpark - tucked behind Spark Arena - an existing covered stadium that could be totally overshadowed by the proposed mega project.

And it's already proving divisive.

"Um, I don't know. Is it my taxpayer dollars that's paying for that?" one person asked.

The council's long been putting the 'umm' in 'stadium'. Ambitious visions of a downtown stadium have been a dime a dozen in recent years.

You might remember the Auckland Waterfront Consortium's sunken stadium concept, or even the 'Eden Park 2.0' concept.

"I don't now have enough digits to count the number of stadium proposals," said Auckland University human geography Professor Tom Baker.

Auckland Council called for expressions of interest last year - and is set to reveal its preferred options in the coming months.

But Prof Baker said there's still an elephant in the room.

"There's no seeming way around the public footing a big chunk of the bill for this. The question is how much," he said.

And while this latest concept has promised a combination of private and public funding, Doyle had this to say:

"If you think 30, 40, 50, 60 years in advance, you'd want to have something like this that you're proud of rather than just continue having what we've always had," he said.

A final product could still be a generation away.