As if he wasn’t busy enough with the completion of an expansion of Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, Maine, JB Turner, the president and co-owner of the facility, and partner Nicole Jacques have taken on a new challenge with the acquisition of Cape Charles Yacht Center in Cape Charles, Va. Jacques is the owner of Rhumbline Communications, also in Belfast.
Turner made it clear that he will be staying in Maine and that his position as president at Front Street is his “paying job.”
“It’s not an FSS yard,” Turner told Trade Only Today, referring to CCYC. “It’s just Nicole and JB. With that said, the relationship between the two yards will include sending work back and forth. They’ll send work that they don’t have capacity to do at Cape Charles.”
Turner added that he and Jacques will be going to Virginia “from time to time to work with the facility to get their processes down.”
The initial agreement is an 18-month lease on the facility and if the planned enhancements go into effect, “shortly thereafter we’ll start a real expansion plan,” said Turner. “There’s quite a bit of land there to work with and we have some initial partners.”
Jacques, an equal partner in the business, will be co-managing the operations. She will also be seeking investors and grants for the expansion. The yard was established in 2013 with South Port Investors with the expectation of developing it into a superyacht facility. It’s located off the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, with an 18-foot deep channel leading into the marina. It has 1,000 feet of face dockage, a 75-ton mobile boat lift and 30/50-amp single-phase and 100-amp three-phase shorepower.
“We identified Cape Charles Yacht Center as an ideal location for superyacht services because it’s central for vessels traveling along the East Coast between New England and Florida,” Turner said in a statement. “For years, we encouraged our customers at Front Street Shipyard to stop into Cape Charles when traveling south, and their feedback has been very positive about the location, quality of service and amenities.”
Turner said he and Jacques have been talking with Furlong and Eyre Baldwin, the father and son who built the yard, plus the business manager, Dan Brown, for about three years. The Baldwin family goes back for generations in the area and wanted to develop a business that could bring jobs to the region.
Turner and Jacques intend to develop a multi-year expansion plan with the support of investors that includes a 30,000-square-foot facility, 600-ton mobile lift and additional floating docks.
“They wanted the yard to grow,” said Turner. “I walked into the yard and said you should have a storage building here because it makes the most sense.”
Turner added that he’s impressed by the current crew. His focus will be “to build a team” as the project moves forward. “They have a great start right now, but they need to build it up,” he said.