Yard 37 land under review

KELLY DENNETT
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2014

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The future of Yard 37 is hanging in the balance as Auckland Council undertakes a review into its viability.

It follows "no substantive interest" from buyers who have had years to buy into the marine precinct at Hobsonville Pt.

Following closure of the Hobsonville airbase in 2000 the marine industry identified the undeveloped land as being ideal for a precinct due to its proximity to the water.

Auckland Council Properties Limited (ACPL) took on the project, proposing to invest nearly $70 million for infrastructure on the 20 hectare site.

However there has been little interest in the land and last year the council set aside 10 hectares for residential housing.

Master planning of that block has already begun but the fate of the remaining 10 hectares is still up in the air.

ACPL has met with councillors, local board members and the Marine Industry Association and is expected to make a decision on the project by June or July.

New Zealand Marine Industry Association executive director Peter Busfield is optimistic the plan will go ahead.

He says there is still a business for refitting and maintaining superyachts and that Auckland has a shortage of yard space adjacent to water.

"It forms a major part of our strategy going forward and we're wishing to maintain the plan to have a main precinct there.

"The world has had the biggest financial collapse since the 1930s and we're starting to come out the other side in a positive light."

He's hopeful the beginning of work on a piece of road that will cater for the transporting of yachts will inspire potential buyers.

"It's a lot more than the promises on paper. Being able to see the physical road in place will give us another impetus to invite the industry to set up.

"They'll see the connection to the water to the land."

Just two companies initially invested in the land with the hope of being at the centre of a buzzing industry.

Yachting Developments was one of them and after seven years managing director Ian Cook says they're still waiting.

The future of their own business is a question mark until a decision is made, Cook says.

"There won't be any future here for us if it all turns into housing," he says.

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