Queenstown Marina’s multi-million dollar second stage sets sail

In a big boost for nautical tourism, Queenstown Marina’s developers are today launching a second stage comprising about 100 berths.

The announcement comes ahead of tonight’s official opening of their $20 million first stage — 85 berths, a breakwater, 17 colourful floating buildings and a carpark — which was completed in Frankton Arm just before Covid hit.

With only 15 private and commercial berths left to lease, following a surge in demand over the past two years, Lakes Marina Projects partners Iraj Barabi — an American Silicon Valley entrepreneur who splits his time between San Francisco and Queenstown — and local-based Alan Kirker felt the time was right for stage two.

They hope to start the extension, east of the current marina, next May, with a build time of about two years.

They’re unsure what it’ll cost but concede it could be 50% dearer than stage one due to rising costs and supply constraints.

This stage, which will again be built by Bellingham Marine, will include electric charging for boats and vehicles.

The developers also intend buying a hydraulic boat trailer to lift out larger vessels for essential repairs and maintenance.

And they’re working with the local council to provide a large shed to safely house boats while work’s carried out.

Barabi says he invested in the marina, on Kirker’s suggestion, because he wanted to contribute to a community that had become his second

Catering to the rise of nautical tourism

Second stage floated: An artist’s impression showing Queenstown Marina’s coloured-in second-stage finger berths

Stage one took a lot longer than he’d anticipated — resource consent was first applied for in December, 2013, and construction started in November, 2017 — but he’s delighted with the result.

‘‘The marina provides easy access to the lake for members of the public, enhancing recreation activities and serving as an alternate transport hub.

‘‘We’re delighted with the support we’ve had from our anchor tenant, Kjet, and Alan has been the man on the ground in Queenstown for me,
especially when I couldn’t be here during Covid.’’

Barabi also singles out local developer Mike Coburn for his early support.

Kirker adds: ‘‘Before we built the marina, there were no facilities on Lake Whakatipu 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 14 metres.’’

Meanwhile, the partners are also announcing award-winning floating cafe and floating burger bar, Coffee Afloat, which operates on Lake Dunstan, between Cromwell and Clyde, is leasing one of the floating buildings, to open before the end of the year.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -