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America's Cup: New marine facility confirmed for Auckland

by Sail-World.com/NZ and Panuku Developments 5 Feb 01:47 PST
The cirrent site occuppied by Orams Marine will be developed and expanded to include neighbouring Site 18 © Orams Marine

The $1.5billion a year New Zealand marine industry is expected to receive a significant boost with the announcement and sign-off on a massive refit facility adjacent to the America's Cup bases currently under construction in Auckland.

The facility will open out into Westhaven marina, the largest marina in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be on the western side of the Wynyard Point area which is the subject of major redevelopment given a new urgency by the 2021 America's Cup.

The new marine refit facility expected to create a boom in marine jobs and deliver significant marine and tourism spending has been confirmed for Wynyard Quarter, as the downtown Auckland area around Wynyard Point is known. The America's Cup bases are located on the eastern side of Wynyard Point.

The development has been advanced after the signing today of a Development Agreement between the city’s redevelopment agency Panuku Development Auckland and leading marine services company Orams.

It will combine Orams facilities and that of "Site 18" which is currently used by the world's largest sparmaker Southern Spars, and until late last year was partially used by Emirates Team New Zealand for its temporary America's Cup base.

It is a very significant development for superyachts coming to New Zealand or the SW Pacific for the America's Cup, who will now be able to combine the America's Cup with servicing by world leading marine companies including Southern Spars, North Sails, Doyle Sails and all other suppliers currently involved in the marine refit and servicing industry.

The new facility will feature a marine haul out and refit facility, commercial buildings and a residential tower on the northern end. It will target marine vessels up to 800 tonnes, which accounts for 85% of the world marine market.

As part of the analysis of the benefits of the America's Cup in Auckland it was calculated that each superyacht being serviced in Auckland spent $5million on average for a refit, which are now required every five years.

Seventy superyachts visited Bermuda over a six month period covering the 35th America's Cup, however Bermuda has no superyacht refit facilities. Around 90 superyachts are expected to visit Auckland for the America's Cup. Over 200 superyachts cruise the eastern coast of Australia each year. The new facility and capacity in Auckland, coupled with the presence of major marine firms, should be an attractive option to this market, if an investment is also made in selling the new facility to the owners and skippers of these vessels.

The marine industry in Auckland is already at full stretch on the basis of America's Cup and other work. That in turn has created a demand for skilled technicians which in turn has seen many companies initiate apprenticeship schemes in response to satisfy the demand.

The new facility is a welcome change from the trend of recent years which has seen marine industry squeezed out of the Wynyard Quarter area by residential and commercial developments, accompanied by a reduction in shore facilities.

A key feature of the new marine facility will be the construction of specialist servicing facilities in an area which has been used for boat and ship building for over a century.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says in a written statement, “The new marine facility in the Wynyard Quarter is expected to generate more than 500 jobs including as many as 200 apprenticeships.

“A piece of currently poorly utilised land will become the heart of a thriving marine enterprises precinct, which carries on the historic presence of boat building in this area.

“Built in time for the America’s Cup 36 races, the precinct will benefit hugely from the refit work which will be generated during the challenge from visiting superyachts and vessels. There can be no better time to launch this facility.”

The facility will be developed on the corner of Beaumont and Jellicoe streets on a site that adjoins Orams Marine Village and is known as Site 18.

It will provide increased maintenance facilities for Auckland’s ferries, fishing vessels and commercial vessels. The majority of existing marine business on the site will be accommodated within the new development.

The development agreement is conditional on the approval of the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office, which is expected to be known late February 2019.

Orams Marine CEO Neven Barbour says their proposal is for an exemplar development, being a unique mix of marine and residential uses.

“This proposal is the result of numerous studies focused on adding sustainable value to the marine industry and Auckland’s economy.”

Orams Marine Services Managing Director Craig Park says the marine sector is an important economic contributor to New Zealand and Auckland, and the city has a strong reputation for quality marine work.

“The marine refit facility will create more than 500 jobs and generate significant income for the marine and tourism industries,” says Park.

“The establishment of the Orams Site 18 facility will ensure the opportunity for wider industry and economic benefits will not be lost to offshore competitors.”

Park says Site 18 is considered to be the only marine-zoned site, of significant scale, within the Auckland area able to deliver a facility of this nature, and as such both parties are keen to see this development progress.

As part of the development the existing seawall will be replaced and contamination remediation works undertaken.

The America's Cup gets underway in Auckland in January 2021, it will be preceded by the Christmas Cup in mid December 2020, with the first race of the 36th Match being sailed on March 6, 2021.

Seven teams are entered for the event from Italy, Great Britain, Malta, United States (2), The Netherlands and New Zealand.

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