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Waitakere City Company Set To Super-Size Hobsonville Development

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 1 NZPA - A Waitakere City Council business, Waitakere Properties, is seeking resource consents to start work on developing an $80 million precinct for superyachts.

Waitakere Properties chief executive Greg Parker said the site will eventually provide up to 2000 jobs for locals.

"Around 56 percent of those living in Waitakere City leave the area each day to work," he said. "That places huge strains on the transport network and on the environment".

The first buildings at the Hobsonville development, Yard 37, are likely to be complete in 2011, and are expected to grow into a 20 hectare marine industry hub capable of catering for superyachts up to 75m long.

The previous Labour-led government put $2 million into the project in 2007, when then Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard said New Zealand's share of the global superyacht market was about 4 percent.

The Government funding was to help purchase equipment to enable large boats to be moved into the water.

Marine Industry Association (MIA) executive director Peter Busfield, said the industry is expected to double its earnings by 2020: "most of that coming from export sectors like the building and refitting of superyachts".

"With Yard 37's infrastructure and the 650 apprentices we already have in training, we will be very well positioned to take advantage of the increased demand we expect to see in the next decade," he said.

The sector needed a base close to a main population centre so there was a good supply of skilled staff, need it to be able to cope with several superyachts at one time and to have a deepwater channel.

The industrial park will feature 100,000 square metres of purpose-designed buildings, including 80,000 square metres of specialist boat sheds, the company said in a statement on the marinebusinessnews website.

There will also be nearly 64,000 square metres of hardstand area with a 150 tonne to 250 tonne travelling crane and strengthened roads to support the building and refitting of superyachts. The final part of the State Highway 18 motorway, is expected to open near the entrance to the precinct in 2012.

There is also provision for a huge paint shed 100m long and 22m wide, and capable of taking yachts 35m high, and a 1000-tonne to put boats in and out of the adjacent 5.5m deep channel.

Boatbuilders and other marine companies will be able to buy land.

Waitakere Properties will build the major infrastructure and hardstand areas and this will then pass into collective ownership by a precinct society made up of all the property owners.

Mr Busfield said the potential of the new precinct should not be underestimated.

"Since the MIA identified Hobsonville as the ideal superyacht centre in the mid 1990s, there have been 5000 superyachts built worldwide, 80 of them here in New Zealand," he said.

Mr Parker said the development will also provide public access to the water for fishing and picnicking, a public launching ramp, ferry services to and from downtown Auckland and, "quite possibly, even a marina and waterfront cafes".

Separately, businessmen have been lining up investors for superyacht refit opportunities in Auckland's 29ha Wynyard Quarter -- formerly known as the Tank Farm.

Sea+City Projects, which is managing the redevelopment for Auckland Regional Holdings, said in June that plans for additional support infrastructure there had the capacity to earn an extra $200 million a year and create up to 1500 new jobs. Auckland Regional Holdings is a commercial arm of Auckland Regional Council (ARC).

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