The first stage of Tauranga's $11.4 million waterfront marine precinct will officially open today, a little less than two years after construction began.

An invitation-only opening event at the precinct, christened Vessel Works, will be held at Sulphur Point this afternoon for people in the marine industry and media.

The Tauranga City Council, which will manage the precinct, has invited interested members of the public to book a tour next week before operations were in full swing.

The first stage of the service hub for marine businesses included a 6300sq m hardstand, deepwater marina berths for large vessels and, its centrepiece, New Zealand's largest travel lift, capable of hauling 350-tonne vessels out of the water for servicing.


As part of the commissioning process for the lift, it was to be tested up to 400 tonnes, precinct manager Phil Wardale said earlier this year.

The Tauranga City Council will manage the marine precinct. Photo / Supplied
The Tauranga City Council will manage the marine precinct. Photo / Supplied

The travel lift has already been tested, taking its first commercial customer in May - a 325 tonne, 47.5m superyacht called No Comment.

Further development, including more lots and a planned extension to the hardstand, will happen in stages based on industry demand.

Six companies signed sales and purchase agreements for the lots in 2016 after a tender process.

The precinct was predicted to create 130 fulltime equivalent jobs and was initially planned to open in mid-2017.

The Tauranga City Council contributed $6.4 million to the project, some of which will be recovered by sales of land lots to marine businesses.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has contributed $5 million to the project from the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

The public tours will be held twice a day on August 6, 7, 9 and 10, timed for lunchtime and late afternoon. There will be 30 spaces on each tour for people aged over 15.