New River Marina auction Thursday

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Auction Co. of America and CB Richard Ellis will auction the New River Marina in Fort Lauderdale Thursday at 2 p.m. The marina declared bankruptcy last year with $19 million in debt.  Unsecured creditors pushed for the auction, while owners Mary and Bob Wickman still hope for a last-minute investor to save the day.

“This is a horrible situation,” said Mary Wickman. “We are a victim of the times and the economic climate stinks everywhere.”

The 4.65-acre parcel is located on the south fork of New River with a controllable depth of 10 to 12 feet. New River Marina holds vessels up to 112 feet, with 700 feet of water dockage and land storage for 50 to 60 boats.

The marina was appraised at $21 million in 2006 by Roe Minor Realty Consultants. Interested prospects include foreign and domestic buyers, but the greatest interest is coming from the marine industry, according to Jason Bodnick, spokesperson for CB Richard Ellis, listing agent representing the unsecured creditors committee.

More than 130 creditors hold $6,508,453 in unsecured non-priority claims, according to bankruptcy papers. On that list are attorneys, investors, vendors, worker compensation notes and state and federal taxes. 

Broward County Revenue Collection holds unsecured priority claims for $55,350. Secured claims of $11,123,076 are due to 84 Marina LLC, the first mortgage holder, and Wachovia Bank for an equipment loan for the yard’s 60-ton Marine Travelift.

Previous annual income from the marina was $3,245,329 for 2005, $3,500,000 for 2006, and $714,000 for the first quarter of 2007, according to the bankruptcy filing. Incremental lease income could evolve by constructing two new covered sheds, according to the listing rep. The covered shed generates $15,000 in revenue per month. Dredging the slips over the submerged land lease section to house vessels up to 55 feet could create additional slip lease revenue.

The Wickman family has owned the 75-year-old marina for the last 25 years. “We built this into a real marina,” Wickman said, “We built the three-story building on site and added the Travelift. When we bought, it was just a boat ramp and one building.”

The minimum reserve bid is $13.3 million, with onsite registration between 9 a.m. and noon Thursday. A $250,000 deposit is required to participate in the auction. Twenty-five percent of the total purchase price is due by Monday, with closing to occur by July 31.

“The unsecured creditors pushed for the auction,” Wickman said. “It was not what we wanted. It is not the best time to be selling anything, but we are the right business in the right location on the river. We would love to find an investor to come and save us prior to auction. I don’t know what the next page looks like for us. We’re putting one foot in front of the other every day.”

See www.cbre.com/newrivermarina for information.

Lisa Hoogerwerf Knapp
Freelance Writer

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