Tauranga City Council wants to revoke the reserve status of up to 7000sq m of public land to make way for a research centre.
The Marine Park land at Sulphur Point would be leased to the University of Waikato for a marine research and education facility predicted to add tens of millions of dollars to the Bay of Plenty region's economy.
The council will go through a public consultation process, planned for November.
If the council decided to proceed it must get permission from the Minister of Conservation to revoke the reserve status.
The project, which the university has been working on with the council since 2016, has the strong support of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and economic development agency Priority One.
The approved section was between the Tauranga Fish and Dive Club and the Maori Navigation Circle.
The council has ditched its initial plan to site the facility on a smaller green space further north on Sulphur Point.
Clubs in the area protested that plan as they used the space for events, and the Tauranga Marina Society suggested the research facility could be part of its planned - but not approved - $20 million marina expansion.
Today Marina manager Greg Prescott said he supported the new plan, even though it would mean having to alter the concept plan for the expansion.
He said berth holders had voted unanimously to pursue the expansion, revealed by the Bay of Plenty Times in June, and he hoped to work with both the university and the council to gain their support.
The research facility will replace the university's Coastal Marine Field Station, established at Sulphur Point in 2011.
The new facility will be a building of about 2400sq m, two or three storeys high, and have yard space and car parks.
The public would still have access to the water's edge via a pedestrian link.