$20m marina finally opens | Otago Daily Times Online News

Queenstown Marina’s developers have launched a second stage, comprising about 100 more berths, which is expected to take about six months to complete.

Last night, Lakes Marina Projects partners Iraj Barabi, of the United States, and Alan Kirker, of Queenstown, officially opened the $20million first stage, which has taken more than a decade to come to fruition.

It has 85 private and commercial berths, of which fewer than 15 are available, a breakwater, 17 floating buildings — one of which will house award-winning floating cafe and burger bar, Coffee Afloat — and a car park.

Mr Barabi, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who divided his time between San Francisco and Queenstown, said he decided to invest in the marina about 12 years ago on Mr Kirker’s suggestion, because he wanted to contribute to a community that had become his second home.

Mr Kirker said a marina had long been needed in the Wakatipu, particularly as nautical tourism grew in popularity.

“Before we built the marina, there were no facilities on Lake Wakatipu catering to larger vessels.

“Nautical tourism is on the rise, and the marina has brought high-net-worth visitors and residents to the district because it can fully cater for boats over 14m.”

But the consenting process, in particular, took much longer than anticipated.

Resource consent was lodged in December 2013, but construction did not start until November 2017 — the first stage was completed in Frankton Arm just before Covid arrived.

“As challenging as it was, we just steamed through to see it to completion,” Mr Barabi said.

The end result provided easy access to the lake for the public, enhanced recreation activities and served as an alternate transport hub.

Mr Kirker added: “I think the biggest kick anybody gets out of it is that people are impressed with it, so that’s better than any financial gain.”

The pair hoped Bellingham Marine could start the extension, featuring another 80 to 100 berths and electric charging stations for boats and vehicles, next May. Mr Barabi said the construction time on that would be about six months.

“It’s actually much easier, because we anticipated we were going to do a phase two, so a lot of infrastructure, like the breakwater, is already there for phase two.

“Phase one was actually very challenging, because it was land-based structures; there were utilities that we had to connect to the floating structures, so I think it [stage two] is going to be a breeze.”

While the cost was uncertain, the pair conceded it could cost 50% more than stage one due to rising costs and supply constraints.

The developers also intended buying a hydraulic boat trailer to lift out larger vessels for essential repairs and maintenance. — Additional reportingPhilip Chandler

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