http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/sout ... 6000773056
SA's largest developer and the State Government have held secret talks to extend the Holdfast Shores Marina.
The Government yesterday confirmed a Monaco-style marina at Glenelg, servicing a high-speed, passenger-only ferry to Kangaroo Island, was being considered after several meetings with development mogul Con Makris.
Feasibility studies are being conducted by the Makris Group to extend the breakwater near Sammy's on the Marina and build a jetty to transfer passengers on and off the ferry.
The south side of the breakwater would be for large, private yachts to berth.
Mr Makris said investigations had also begun to find the right type of ferry, which would need to be custom-made to ensure it could successfully navigate Glenelg's low tide.
It is likely to be similar to that used to shuttle holidaymakers around the Greek Islands.
The fast ferry service is likely to shave about two hours from the current trip from Cape Jervis.
A government spokesman said representatives from the Office of Major Projects and Infrastructure have had several preliminary discussions with "potential operators".
"The State Government is willing to closely examine any viable proposal put forward," he said.
Mr Makris said no timeline has been set for the development and that the government had asked him to provide concept plans.
"The government will build the marina extension and we'll put in the money for it and for the boats," he said.
Mr Makris said the plans were the most advanced to date, after he first revealed his dream in 2004.
"Glenelg is the number one destination in Adelaide," he said.
"We'd like to see it developed further, like a Fremantle. If we have the boats lined up, it will look like Monaco there."
It is not the first time a ferry to KI has been attempted. Several unsuccessful attempts were made in the 1990s while, in 2006, Mr Makris partnered with SeaLink, which runs the current passenger/vehicle ferry to KI from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula, to try to run a catamaran service from Glenelg.
"Before, they were looking to use a catamaran; but you can't get it inside (the marina)," Mr Makris said.
"We've had to look at it in a different way, because taking cars is not going to work from here."
Meanwhile, the Makris Group is also in negotiations with high-end hotel chains, including the Hyatt and Hilton, to add a boutique hotel to the development of the former Le Cornu site in North Adelaide.
A spokesman for Planning Minister Paul Holloway confirmed last week the government was still considering an extension to the permit, which lapsed in September last year, for the $170 million apartment and retail precinct.
In 2007, the latest plan for 88 O'Connell St was fast-tracked by the State Government, after it took planning control from the Adelaide City Council and claimed it under major development status.
Mr Makris said the size and number of retail spaces and apartments would be altered to accommodate the boutique hotel.
There are no plans to increase the height of the development.
"We went to the market to see how to attract quality shops and we needed a drawcard to help," he said.
"You're not going to get the fashion designers if you don't have the high-end hotel."
Mr Makris said he did not believe the government would reject the proposed changes.
"Why would they knock back the Hyatt?" he said.