Contractor seeks to reopen Connecticut shipyard

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Rhode Island-based J. Goodison Co., a marine industrial maintenance and repair contractor, is looking to reopen a bankrupt shipyard in Bridgeport, Conn.

The company is using the former Derecktor site to repair a Coast Guard patrol boat, but the hope for a longer-term arrangement has been pushed off course by the former tenant’s bankruptcy, according to the Connecticut Post.

Company president Jack Goodison signed a temporary lease for the space, but his bid to take up a longer lease on the site of the former Derecktor Shipyards was accepted by the Bridgeport Port Authority in a competitive process conducted this summer.

Now the company is working to repair the Coast Guard patrol boat Sanibel, which is one of Goodison’s specialties. The company has repaired about eight of them in the last year.

"To us, it's a tremendous facility," Goodison told the paper. "To have deep-water access close to New York City, it was an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Space in shipyards such as Bridgeport isn't easy to come by as working waterfront in the Northeast has disappeared and been replaced by condominiums and other uses.

Although the Derecktor site is a dream come true for Goodison, its future is weighed down by Derecktor's legal issues.

The company operated in Bridgeport for about a decade, building and repairing yachts, ferries, fishing and tugboats, but it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, just short of two years after its last bankruptcy. The filing does not affect Derecktor's Florida yard, which is expanding, but it does affect the leasing of the property in Bridgeport, which is owned by the Bridgeport Port Authority.

"We are in negotiations for a longer-range agreement," said Elaine Ficarra, a spokeswoman for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. But she said that because of the ongoing legal issues, City Hall could make no further comments on the matter.

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