Auckland Regional Council is divided over its vision for Queens Wharf.
ARC chairman Mike Lee wants a cruise terminal building and has disparaged the cargo sheds currently on the site.
But other councillors are beginning to favour an option of restoring the heritage buildings, an idea backed by Auckland City Council.
Cr Joel Cayford says he doesn't want a new cruise terminal to overshadow public space.
He says a site visit this week showed him and parks and heritage committee chair Sandra Coney, that the "bones" of the buildings are good and just need care and vision.
An forthcoming design competition will leave open the option of retaining the buildings.