The New Plymouth complex that Fitzroy Yachts closed recently is being seen as a possible new marine centre. The New Zealand yacht builder ceased operations in April after launching a 37.5m sailing yacht, Escapade.

The 5890-square metre property, sitting adjacent to the city’s harbour,  is now for sale, prompting calls for the establishment of a domestic marine industry hub. The buildings include a 3590-square metre manufacturing facility, office complex and parking lot for 190 vehicles.

The idea of a marine cluster was first proposed in 2006 through a consultant’s report. Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) said that while Port Taranaki’s existing marina provided basic swing-line moorings, the region’s marine sector service facilities were largely under-developed.

“New Plymouth is the only major coastal town in New Zealand without a serviced marina, and is the only port on the western seaboard where boats do not have to cross a bar to enter,” noted the report. “The marina will provide the regional infrastructure expected of a coastal city, and will encourage community and commercial use – providing a safe haven for yachts and fishing vessels seeking shelter in rough weather.”

The report called for marina development around the complex, saying that it would generate about NZ$7.6m of new revenues each year, with the creation of up to 70 fulltime jobs.

The Fitzroy Yachts building is currently leased from Port Taranaki through 2022, with two further rights of renewal which could take the terminating lease out to 2052.

Currently, the buildings, plant and equipment are being sold for NZ$5.7m, with Fitzroy Yacht’s intellectual property and yacht plans for an additional NZ$1.3m.

A representative of the real estate firm selling the property said that Fitzroy Yachts “showed little inclination” to leave the facility in 2006 when the report first surfaced. But he noted that the size and scale of the buildings gave it potential for “multiple tenants working together under one roof,” according to the story on Voxy.co.nz.

“All the necessary infrastructure is there for multiple commercial marine support industries to take advantage of, along with an expressed willingness by Port Taranaki to work closely with any future tenants,” he told the website. He added that Asian investors might be interested in investing in a proposed marina.

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    Fitzroy Yachts closure prompts calls for new marine centre