The council said that the development could potentially attract more than 100,000 extra visitors per year.
It will put forward its plan – called the Great Harbour – next week as one of its key Ayrshire Growth Deal projects. Details of the proposals will be presented to the council’s cabinet at a meeting on 16th April.
The proposals form part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal investment programme and at least £14m has been allocated for development of the Harbourside and Ardeer Peninsula.
The plans include the creation of a ‘Maritime Mile’ to provide new berthing facilities and upgrade existing slipways. The council will also work with the Maritime Museum to create a new visitor attraction, showcasing the vessels owned by the museum in a new waterfront setting.
Other ideas include refurbishment of the Big Idea – which provides creative space and serves as a venue for events - along with repair of a bridge that will give dedicated access. There will also be an all-weather barrier-free play facility.
The council said that it also intends working with private sector partners to develop a harbourside hotel and restaurant. Both social and private housing are planned.
The aim is to focus on the works at the Harbourside first, which would support the second stage of development at the Ardeer peninsula. As well as a road bridge and other road infrastructure, plans for Ardeer include a holiday resort and an industrial hub for major industrial and engineering processes.
The plans involve a partnership with NPL Estates – the owner of much of the land at the Ardeer Peninsula – to help deliver the possible projects. As well as owning the land, NPL Estates is also the harbour authority.
Councillor Alex Gallagher, cabinet member for economy, said: “This is a tremendous long-term plan and a huge investment in Irvine Harbourside. And the Harbourside is the key to further developments on the Ardeer Peninsula.
“We will be working very closely with our partners, NPL Estates. If we are successful in unlocking the potential of the Harbourside we can then go on to fully realise the enormous possibilities inherent in the Ardeer Peninsula.”
He added: “Irvine Harbourside has huge potential given the combination of its natural location, some of the most superb coastal views in Scotland, proximity to Glasgow and the central belt. The Harbourside already has established maritime presence, with plenty of space to expand. “With the right mix of public and private investment, Irvine Harbourside should be a waterfront destination to not only attract a significant increase in the number of domestic visitors but also should have global appeal. We will progress with the plans and will keep everyone updated as we move forward.”
The Council and NPL Estates will carry out further research to help produce a Masterplan before moving on to more detailed work on the individual components of the plans.