A cash injection for Dunedin's waterfront development from the Government's $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund is just the start, but developers are already lining up to back the project, the Dunedin City Council says.

It was confirmed yesterday the city is set to receive a six-figure sum, of less than $1 million, as an initial government contribution towards the project.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones is travelling to Dunedin for the announcement, scheduled for 2.30pm today at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, followed by a tour of the waterfront site.

Mr Jones' spokeswoman confirmed it would be an initial contribution to the project, but ''certainly not'' the last.


Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said the money would cover the cost of geotechnical and economic feasibility studies, which were needed before larger sums were committed.

The studies, which were already under way, would look at what was needed to prepare the site for development - including upgrading sea walls, piling and other requirements - and the costs involved, she said.

They would also test the economics underpinning projects such as a five-star hotel, seen as a key component of the waterfront project.

The initial contribution, the size of which Dr Bidrose would not detail ahead of Mr Jones' announcement, was nevertheless ''what we have asked for'', she said.

''We are delighted. We are absolutely stoked,'' she said.

Private developers were also already lining up to be involved in the development plan, she confirmed.

At least one party, and in some cases more than one, had expressed interest in each of the key buildings outlined in the concept plan, she said.

That included the five-star hotel component, which had so far attracted the attention of three different private parties, she confirmed.


The parties needed to see the feasibility studies before proceeding, but the council would then be in a position to seek further funding from Wellington, she said.

The waterfront plan was put forward by Dunedin architect Damien van Brandenburg and businessman Ian Taylor last year.

In May, it was reported the project could be in line for a $50 million cash injection - and possibly significantly more - from the Government fund.

The council has already backed the wider concept by committing to a $20 million architectural bridge to the site, and other key parties - from the Otago Regional Council to Port Otago, the University of Otago and Ngai Tahu - have endorsed it.

- Otago Daily Times