JENNIFER Hawkins and Alan Jones were the star attractions at the launch of the $388 million Trinity Point marina project on Wednesday.
The project is planned on the waterfront at Morisset Park in Lake Macquarie, but was launched at a swanky restaurant in Circular Quay.
The aim was for developer Keith Johnson to promote the project to some of Sydney’s top food and function-centre operators.
As reported on Monday, Ms Hawkins has been enlisted as the project’s ambassador.
Mr Jones, who hosted the event, told Mr Johnson "you rocked us all by getting Jennifer".
Mr Johnson said he had "always wanted to get Jennifer involved".
"When you want something, you pay and do whatever you have to," Mr Johnson said.
Ms Hawkins said Mr Johnson’s passion inspired her to be involved.
"It wasn’t just the cheque," she joked.
Mr Johnson said the Trinity Point project reflected what his company believed in, which was "people reaching their potential".
He said Trinity Point was a "special place".
"When I first walked that land, it gave me a spiritual feeling," he said.
"When you walk the foreshore, you forget the world."
The launch represented a new chapter for Mr Johnson, whose company struggled to survive during the financial crisis.
Mr Johnson broke down in tears on stage when he thanked Mr Jones, who is his neighbour.
"He gave me the greatest support when I was down and out," Mr Johnson said.
Mr Jones returned the compliment, noting that Mr Johnson "came from Queensland to NSW with nothing" when he started in the property industry.
Mr Johnson lamented that no politicians attended the launch.
"We’re the largest developer outside Sydney, we’re helping build the country and we can’t get them to listen to us," he said.
Mr Jones said it was a "nonsense and infantile view to demonise people we require to grow the city".
The NSW government approved a concept plan five years ago for the 23-hectare Trinity Point site, including a 188-berth marina, 150 apartments, a restaurant, boardwalk, function centre and shops.
Mr Johnson plans to increase the number of apartments to 250 and add a 60-room hotel.
Some had questioned why a launch was occurring when final approvals had not been issued.
‘‘The only debate is the detail,’’ Mr Johnson said, adding that investors called for the extra units to make the project viable.
By MATT CARR
JENNIFER Hawkins has joined developer Keith Johnson at a Sydney function to launch the Trinity Point marina proposal.
The Newcastle Herald has reported that Hawkins, who hails from Holmesville, is an ambassador for the $388 million marina proposal.
“As a local girl, I think Trinity Point is going to be really special,’’ Ms Hawkins said.
‘‘To have a destination that people can visit, live [in] and escape from their busy lives is something that truly appeals to me.’’