auklandExpressions of interest will formally open to local and international bidders tomorrow for the development of a 1.6ha site in the Wynyard marine area of Auckland, New Zealand into a major new superyacht refit facility.

The site, owned by Waterfront Auckland, is being promoted as a key investment opportunity to further enhance Auckland’s yacht refit and repair capacity.

The invitation will be issued by the Auckland branch of Colliers International with a deadline of November 21, 2014 for applications to be submitted.

John Goddard of Colliers told SB: “We anticipate it being the first quarter of 2015 before we have a shortlist of preferred bidders, considering all the work needed to be undertaken.”

On this timeframe it is anticipated that the facility would become operational in late 2016 or 2017.

Goddard suggested that bids including an appropriate mix of investment and job creation would be favourably looked upon by Waterfront Auckland. Apart from these there are no conditions such as international bidders requiring a local partner or any minimum amount of investment or number of jobs to be created.

The invitations are open to marine/superyacht refit and yard operators, developers and investors (including specialist marine infrastructure investors) to acquire a long-term leasehold interest in 16,241sq m of marine-zoned land and a water space licence over the water space immediately adjacent to the land with an area of 10,663sq m.

Within the current zoning parameters there is also capacity for the development of 7,550sq m (gross floor area) of marine, commercial and retail space and 6,000sq m (gross floor area) of residential and/or serviced apartments.

Initial assessments by Waterfront Auckland suggest a facility that can cater for large superyachts (600-2,000 tonnes). The site can accommodate a full range of haul-out facilities including potentially a synchro lift, dry dock, travel lift and floating dock.

The site is one of the few remaining in this area of Auckland suitable for marine activity. Auckland has witnessed an influx of visiting superyachts in recent years with the development of Silo Marina, which has played host to some of the largest and most well known vessels in the global fleet. One recent visitor was the 119m (390ft) A, which undertook cruising and repair and refit work while in New Zealand.

Buoyed by this growing popularity as a refit destination and by the resurgence of new builds locally and internationally, the NZ Marine Industry Association together with Tourism New Zealand are progressing an investment and marketing strategy to double the number of superyachts visiting the country over the next five years.

Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell said: “The Wynyard Marine site offers a superb opportunity to capitalise on New Zealand’s growing refit market. The site is unrivalled in terms of its access to a city centre, a thriving marine business cluster and some of the South Pacific’s finest cruising grounds. There’s no doubt these attributes combined with the convenience and access to a local talent pool of world class operators and designers will provide a competitive advantage over other international yard locations.”

Two possible local contenders for this project are Orams Marine and Titans Marine Engineering. The latter is close by and its facilities include a 1,500-tonne capacity slipway. As for Orams, its refit, repair and marina facility is next door to the site. They have the capacity to handle yachts up to 90m (296ft).

Oram’s managing director, Craig Park, told SB: “We have not made up our mind yet but we will consider it. We prepared a plan for the site about three years ago.”

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    Auckland superyacht refit development site