Luxury yacht marina could gazump foreshore master plan

A NEW luxury yacht destination for Chinese and Indian millionaires is being touted by the developers proposing an overhaul of a Sydney marina.

Planning authorities are poised to rule on the proposed $31 million expansion of the Sydney Superyacht Marina at Rozelle Bay, despite criticism it pre-empts new guidelines for the contested foreshore near the Anzac Bridge.

The 24-berth marina was built to host well-to-do boaters during the Sydney Olympics, but the land was not developed beyond demountable buildings and a now-disused restaurant.

Under the plan, they would be replaced by a yacht club, bars, restaurants offices, workshops and a multilevel car park.

An investment banker, Mark Carnegie, and a solicitor, Andrew Robinson, have a majority stake in the venture. The former South Sydney NRL player Brian James holds the remaining share.

''There is lots of very schmick development around the foreshores of Sydney, and what's there at the moment isn't [to that standard],'' Mr Carnegie said.

''As Chinese owners and other people in Asia buy superyachts … I think Sydney is going to become a really competitive destination.''

The expansion would cater mostly to crews manning the vessels and nearby residents, he said.

Superyachts are more than 30 metres long, worth more than $10 million and have a full-time crew, according to the NSW Superyacht Industry Association.

The Planning Assessment Commission will determine the marina proposal under scrapped Part 3a laws.

But Leichhardt and City of Sydney councils say no new development should be considered until a broader strategy for the bays precinct is finalised. It comprises 80 hectares of valuable foreshore land from Rozelle to Blackwattle Bay and White Bay.

Several developments affecting the precinct are in the works, including an approved cruise passenger terminal at White Bay and plans to establish a temporary pavilion at Glebe Island while the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre is redeveloped.

The Planning Minister, Brad Hazzard, has a report by the Bays Precinct Taskforce for a planning framework covering land use, public access and open space.

He said the Planning Department was obliged to consider development proposals despite the planning uncertainty.