Auckland authorities say they will have a $14.6 million passenger ship terminal finished by next April, at the end of this summer's cruise season.
Work on renovating the century-old Shed 10 on Queen's Wharf will start next week.
"It's tight but it's do-able," said Rod Marler, Waterfront Auckland's development general manager.
This summer will be the biggest cruise season yet with more than 100 ship visits and a 19 per cent increase in the number of passengers to 206,000.
It is estimated last summer the cruise industry generated almost $270 million which was pumped into the Auckland economy and 1550 jobs were created.
Waterfront Auckland - an Auckland Super City council-controlled organisation - said the challenge had been to preserve the historic features of the building while accommodating other uses such as a function venue.
The shed's two levels will be preserved with a more open area downstairs available for baggage handling, and upstairs immigration, customs and quarantine facilities along the eastern side of the building, in addition to space for functions.
Marler said the events industry had said there was sufficient demand for another waterfront venue in addition to the Viaduct Events Centre and The Cloud.
"They see each of these working in a complementary way rather than competing."
The shed was used for handling general cargo including sheep, beef and butter.
Shed 10 was 50 per cent bigger than the present venue, Princes Wharf, which would still be used to process passengers during busy times.