Whether new for old or all-new, marina design – afloat and ashore – is receiving increased architectural attention and community focus. Developing a new icon or destination-proofing an established facility in an enviable waterfront location is a win-win. Carol Fulford, editor of Marina World, looks at some recent projects.
Al Qana, Abu Dhabi
The UAE is no stranger to stunning, radical design – think the Palm Marinas in Dubai – and continues to set the pace for striking new marina developments. Al Qana is a prime new example – a boulevard-style facility extending across 2.4km of waterfront that is connected by four eye-catching bridges.
The 107-berth marina, developed by Al Barakah International Investment, appeals to both local residents and visitors and is in a prime position in the Rabdan area, an historic natural waterway.
Developed during the pandemic, the marina has been designed for vessels of 10 to 20m with a maximum air draft of 6m (to clear the bridges) and offers a boat charter service.
To help it stand out even further, Al Qana features the largest aquarium in the Middle East with the UAE’s longest water tunnel. The lifestyle development also offers a large-scale supermarket, restaurants and cafés, essential retail, cinemas, theatres, activity centre, indoor theme parks and a virtual reality gaming centre.
As waterway and marina manager, Andy Savill, tells me: "The experiences at Al Qana are rooted and uniquely inspired by the post-pandemic demand for a healthier lifestyle."
Civitanova Marche, Italy
Plans for a 12ha project to regenerate the waterfront in the Italian city of Civitanova Marche will create a new super hub for tourism and large yachts, filling a gap for a high-end marina.
The project is being built and engineered by Eurobuilding and is expected to be a lengthy process partly due to the obstacle of renewing state-owned concessions. But the result will better link the city with the water and offer a 758-berth marina that can accommodate yachts of up to 70m and stunning architecturally-designed centrally positioned landmark buildings.
A shipyard district, to include a drydock, docks for mobile boat hoists, and hangars for boats of various sizes, is also planned. The hangar for vessels up to 70 m will have a quayside with five dedicated berths, a reception, offices, a 4-star hotel, a bathhouse and a large commercial area.
The southern area has been reserved for residential development and will include another 4-star hotel, branded tourist and hotel buildings, tourist accommodation, a luxury commercial district and commercial buildings.
When complete, Civitanova Marche will be a new reference point for the Mediterranean. As Ecobuilding owner, Umberto Antonelli, asserts: “We intend to create a link between land and sea that not only includes Marche but also Umbria, Tuscany and part of Lazio."
Jeddah Yacht Club (JYC) Marina, Saudi Arabia
JYC Marina, the first marina on the Red Sea coast to offer berthing for vessels up to 120m in length, welcomed yachts in early December 2021 to mark the inaugural Saudi Arabia F1 Grand Prix. The official grand opening of Jeddah Yacht Club was celebrated in March this year.
With berthing for over 100 yachts of all sizes, JYC Marina epitomises the future of superyachting on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline. It is the first step in a ten year plan to launch major yachting developments from Neom in the north to Amaala and the Red Sea projects further south.
Developed by SELA, the national company behind some of the most ambitious lifestyle projects in the country, the marina offers berthing in a safe and secure environment with private helipad, gated entry and easy access for guests and service providers.
The marina operates in association with Jeddah Yacht Club whose architecture has been carefully designed to stimulate the senses and offer its members a rich, marine-inspired atmosphere where they can enjoy the numerous social and nautical activities available. Its mast-and-sail themed club house, located by the entrance channel of the marina, is a beacon of welcome to Jeddah’s shores.
Mohideen Nazer, director parks and resorts for SELA, notes: “This is a small step in our contribution to the realisation of Vision 2030 for the kingdom but it is nonetheless a major first step to turn the Red Sea Coast into a compelling destination for yachting aficionados to enjoy our amazing cruising grounds."
Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina, Bahamas
For over 50 years, ‘Hurricane Hole Marina at Paradise Island’ in the Bahamas has been a favourite destination for yachts cruising the tranquil, turquoise waters of the region. Now, reinvented as Hurricane Hole Superyacht Marina, it has achieved the Caribbean dream of opening its docks to seriously big yachts.
In its original form, the marina had 90 berths and just a handful of slips for vessels up to 60m. The infrastructure was fixed dock, and the visitor amenities extended to just a single restaurant. Fast forward with a US$250 million overhaul and the marina basin has extended circumference due to removal, replacement and relocation of the sea wall and greater water depth. With 1,828m of floating concrete docks and slips for yachts up to 128m, Hurricane Hole now offers multiple mooring options.
New luxury homes have been built beside the marina – and that sole restaurant now has company. Boosting visitor services has led to: waterfront bars; additional restaurants; a gourmet grocery store; executive office space; yacht provisioning; a wine and liquor superstore with dockside delivery; medical centre and pharmacy. Visitors can enjoy a full-service fitness facility, swimming pools, private meeting spaces and charter management services. A separate pool, lounge and gym facilities are available to yacht captains and crew.
David Kosoy, executive chairman and founder of the project developer, manager and owner, Sterling Global Financial, says: "We see the marina as the crown jewel in the most popular yachting experience in the Bahamas, with convenience and amenities that no other marina can match."
Dana Point Marina, USA
After more than 20 years of deliberation, redevelopment of Dana Point Marina in Dana Point, California is underway. The marina, the largest on the west coast of the USA, is destined to set new standards in terms of infrastructure and service.
The massive mixed-use project, being undertaken by Bellwether Financial, Burnham Ward Properties and R D Olsen Development, includes renovating the 40-year-old marina and building new restaurants, shops and hotels.
Distinct new plans for the marina included swapping out the parking and retail space so that retail, hotels and public parks are on the waterfront. The public thus have access to the docks and the newly created public areas that offer expanded recreational opportunities.
Focus on the community and on nautical activity is a significant part of the reimagining. Bellwether is partnering with community organisations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Orange County (OC) Youth Sailing, Surfrider and the YMCA to provide 1,000 young people with sailing, ocean education programmes, whale watching, swimming lessons and a variety of annual water activities.
Construction of the new marina began in August and it will be rebuilt by Bellingham Marine over the next five years in 15 phases with an extra two phases in the outer basin. The new dock system addresses both Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and general access, the guest services will set a new standard for the US west coast and the electrical and pump-out systems have been designed to last well into the future.
Joe Ueberroth, founder and president of Bellwether Financial Group, says: "Once the revitalisation is complete, Dana Point Harbor will raise the bar for marinas and coastal developments of the future, with innovative dock technology, a thoughtful approach to public access, environmentally friendly initiatives and waterfront lifestyle amenities and services."