Marina preferred developer selected

Two United States-based business developers and a Queenstown businessman have been recommended as the preferred developers for the proposed $10 million Frankton Marina.

The Frankton Marina working party has recommended Lakes Marina Projects Ltd be chosen to develop the marina. The Queenstown Lakes District Council will be asked on Tuesday to appoint the group as the ''preferred developer''.

Lakes Marina Projects was specifically formed to undertake building the proposed marina and the founding shareholders are Nasser Barabi, Iraj Barabi and Alan Kirker.

In a written expression of interest in response to the council's development brief, it is said the Barabis ''currently own and manage one of the fastest-growing privately held technology companies in the San Francisco Bay area'', employing more than 200 people and with sales of more than $US60 million ($NZ71 million). They also own and manage residential and commercial real estate holdings in the United States, Auckland and Queenstown and ''propose to move here [Queenstown] permanently''.

Mr Kirker is a Queenstown businessman with an interest and experience in marine businesses. He has operated the Yvalda charter vessel on Lake Wakatipu for more than eight years and his family was responsible ''for the successful marina at Te Anau'', the expression of interest said.

Lakes Marina Projects has included 100 berths in stage one of the marina project, and it would add

a further 100 berths in stage two. Stage one of the development was expected to cost $6.5 million and would be funded privately by major shareholders.

The expected cost of stage two was $3.4 million and ''additional bank financing is available to LMP through local banks''.

Construction of stage one was expected to take 12 months and work could start immediately after consents were granted. The construction date for stage two would depend on demand.

The working party has reviewed the proposal and said it complied with the council development brief created in February.

In August 2011, the council cancelled its agreement with Queenstown Marina Developments Ltd, five years after the company first mooted an offshore marina, and subsequently sought expressions of interest from interested developers.

Also in August 2011, the Otago Daily Times reported Mr Kirker and his United States business partners were keen to establish an inshore marina capable of holding 130 berths.

The next step would be to finalise a draft agreement between the council and Lakes Marina Projects Ltd and make a draft agreement to enter into a lease of reserve land, although the appointment of the preferred developer would not be binding.

''There will be no binding commitment from council until both the development agreement and the reserve's deed of lease are made unconditional to the satisfaction of council,'' the development brief says.

Lakes Marina Projects intended to undertake more formal consultation ''when the council confirms that LMP are the preferred developer''.