Boaties sign up for marina

Vision: The planned marina PICTURE: QUEENSTOWNMARINA.COM

A new Frankton marina is already signing up keen boaties – before it’s even got a lake-bed lease.

Lakes Marina Projects (LMP) has launched a new website for its $15 million offshore floating marina planned for Lake Wakatipu’s Frankton Arm.

There’s been a flurry of interest in the rebranded Queenstown Marina from boaties, both local and international, with more than a dozen signing up for berths.

But construction of the 77-berth first stage can’t begin until a commercial lease is agreed between LMP and the government.

Land Information New Zealand manages Crown land, including the lake bed.

LMP consortium’s Queenstown face, Alan Kirker, says: “It’s a commercial lease so both parties have to be happy.”

He adds: “It’s just a waiting game.”

The project got Overseas Invest-ment Office approval on April 6.

“As soon as the lease comes through, it’ll happen quick I suppose,” Kirker says.

“So we’ve launched the website to put it out there and say ‘get in now’ – first up, best dressed.”

On the rebrand, Kirker says: “We opted for Queenstown in the end – everybody knows Queenstown but no one knows Frankton.”

The marina covers three-quarters of a hectare at Sugar Lane and almost 7ha of the lake itself.

Iranian-born multimillionaire brothers Nasser and Iraj Barabi, who live in California, each own 40 per cent of LMP. Kirker owns the rest.

He says rising construction costs have added about $5m to the project cost – and that’s just for stage one.

“It’s going up every day now.”

Stage one features a breakwater, 77 marina berths, 17 floating sheds, four buildings on land, a fuelling station and parking for up to 136 vehicles.

Stage two’s likely to be cheaper though “one would hope”, as it is only an extension of the floating pontoons.

Eight of the floating sheds have also been snapped up since the website went live.

LINZ group manager Crown property John Hook says in an emailed statement: “Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and timing can vary.”