NZ$70m boost to Auckland's superyacht infrastructure

Waterfront Auckland has plans for the marine infrastructure to incorporate superyachts, cruise liners and events.
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Current and future spending totaling over NZ$70m is planned by Auckland to enhance its superyacht capability over the next three to five years.

According to reports, this spend will involve both public and private funds, and the largest part of the plans will be a new complex of facilities for new build, refit and berths at Yard 18, a 16,000m² site adjacent to Silo Park.

This long-term project is set to cost NZ$43.5m using both public and private money but as yet the capital mix has not been decided.

Waterfront Auckland (WA) owns this land and will be the lead player in the development. At the centre of the complex will be a 2,500t capacity synchrolift repair and refit centre, which will be operated by Orams Marine Services who have their existing repair/refit centre next door.

The synchrolift will allow much larger superyachts to be hauled out than previously and it will also provide a launch option for any new build yachts. In addition to the synchrofit there will be a range of sheds for all of the support services, a dedicated paint hall and new build sheds.

The need to handle larger superyachts led WA to put in six new berths at Silo Park last year for yachts up to 90m (295ft). These supplemented the 150 berths in Viaduct Harbour, which can moor vessels up to 60m (197ft). These berths were fully booked during the Rugby World event and are well booked for the upcoming season.

Alongside at present are the 61m (200ft) White Rabbit Echo, which is the biggest refit project yet for Integrated Marine Group, and 77m (252ft) Weta. She is being fitted out by Specialist Marine Interiors and Nautical Contracting following the hull and superstructure having be built at the Marco shipyard in Chile. Weta is the new yacht for Graeme Hart, one of New Zealand's wealthiest businessmen.

'The project review has been completed and we are expecting to have works completed so that facilities are available for this Southern Hemisphere summer,' says Richard Aitken, WA's geberal manager of property and assets. 'We'll be using local resources and services and it is our intention to operate the marina facility in perpetuity.

'The total area of consist of land and waterspace and includes an additional 90m pontoon plus a 15m extension of our existing Silo Park marina berths.'

This refers to Yard 18, which is currently being used as a base for Team Prada in the America's Cup. The 15m extension will allow two yachts up to 110m (360ft) to be berthed. The extra two 90m berths will make eight in all at the Silo Park marina plus the alongside cement berth.

Just north of Silo Park a NZ$20m project is planned by the Sanford Group, a leading fishing business, which wants to make better use of its land holding. In what will be the largest private investment by a marine company for a number of years, two 57m (187ft), 200t capacity slipways are planned as well as an 11 berth marina for vessels between 70-75m (230-246ft).

'We are currently working through the planning consent and hope, if we get approval, to start work by the end of 2012 with a 12 month build period,' says Peter Rourke, the Sanford executive overseeing this development. 'We hope to be ready for the start of the 2013 summer.'

Cruise liner facilities too are part of the larger scheme. Design plans have been revealed for the proposed conversion of a heritage building on Auckland’s waterfront into a world class multi use cruise and events facility.

Shed 10 on Queen’s Wharf, dates back to 1910 and was used for much of its life as a cargo shed for export and import goods. More recently it formed a key part of the festivities for the Rugby World Cup 2011 Fanzone on Queen’s Wharf.

As a key economic development project in the Auckland Council 10 year budget (Long Term Plan) an innovative and adaptive refurbishment is planned at a revised cost of $14.6m, compared with an initial budget of $25m including gangway, design and preparation costs.

The upgrade will transform Shed 10 into a unique venue for major and community events and offers improved processing facilities to capitalise on Auckland’s growing reputation as a hub port for visiting international cruise ships in the South Pacific.

Forecast numbers for the 2012/2013 cruise season indicate a further 25 per cent increase in passenger numbers to approximately 214,000. In 2011/12 the cruise industry generated approximately $268m in direct spend into Auckland alone and provided around 1,550 jobs.

Shed 10 will be over 50% larger than the current cruise facility on Princes Wharf and is being designed to cater for cruise ships carrying up to 3,000 passengers and for events of up to 3,000 people.