Auckland Wants New Superyacht Dry Dock

Wynyard district in 2007, pre-development

Government officials in Auckland, New Zealand want to see more services for more superyachts in their city. They’re focused on a hauling facility being developed and are therefore courting private investors, but they also want residents to help foot the bill, to the tune of NZ$16.8 million (about US$13.37 million).

According to a story in the New Zealand Herald, the draft of the mayor’s long-term budget proposes redeveloping a vacant section of land for a NZ$45.3-million (US$36 million) megayacht dry dock. Part of the money would come from the private sector, with the remainder from taxpayers. The vacant lot is in Wynyard Quarter, a reclaimed piece of land along the western end of the Auckland waterfront. Late last decade, city officials decided to transform the once-heavily industrial area into a mixed-use area. It now features public accessible spaces as well as marine facilities, including megayacht businesses. For example, project U77, a 253-foot (77-meter)  megayacht, is being completed there by a number of different companies, including the teak specialist Nautical Contracting. (Project U77 started construction in Chile and was towed to New Zealand last year. She’s said to be under construction for Graeme Hart, the owner of Ulysses, the expedition yacht built by Trinity Yachts in 2003.) Furthermore, Orams Marine Services, which refitted Athena, is also among the companies present there.

In fact, Orams Marine Services and Waterfront Auckland, the government body owned by the city council, have a memorandum of understanding over the proposed new development in Wynyward Quarter, The New Zealand Herald states. Orams, which presently operates adjacent to the open lot, will become a private partner.

John Dalzell, chief executive for Waterfront Auckland, tells the paper that the superyacht-hauling facility will create jobs and contribute NZ$161 million (US$128.1 million) to the city’s economy for upwards of 25 years. Auckland’s mayor, Len Brown, also supports the plan. “The council’s involvement would be a catalyst to ensure private companies who wouldn’t otherwise be involved have the ability to get onboard,” the paper quotes him as saying. However, Cameron Brewer, a member of the city council, opposes committing taxpayer funds. “Interestingly, the superyacht industry doesn’t seem to be lobbying us, nor is there much sign of the private sector wanting to throw money towards supporting such a facility,” the paper quotes him as saying. “You really have to wonder if this is a priority for Auckland’s suburban ratepayers at this time.”

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