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Marina firms were dealing for growth

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Marina operators made their presence felt at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, announcing a host of new plans and contracts that look ahead to flusher times.

Westrec Marinas says it will be managing the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina, a municipal facility on Amelia Island on northeast Florida's Intracoastal Waterway.

"We think Westrec's management skills can enhance one of our city's greatest assets," says Fernandina Beach mayor Susan Steger.

Westrec also will be helping design and manage the Cross Island Marina, Bermuda's first megayacht marina, as part of a redevelopment of the Dockyard area on the island's west end. "Bermuda doesn't have a marina for larger transient yachts to dock," says Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corp. "They mostly anchor out at one or two of our hotels."

The marina will have a 250-ton lift and will serve yachts voyaging between Europe and the Americas, and visiting yachts from the U.S. mainland. Westrec also opened a new 156-slip drystack facility for yachts to 50 feet this summer at its Harbour Towne Marina in Dania Beach, Fla. The $4 million drystack is 88 percent full, says Westrec vice president Gary Groenewald, a sign of ongoing demand in South Florida for dry slips that accommodate big high-performance boats, Groenewald says.

Fort Lauderdale-based Island Global Yachting, which owns, develops and manages luxury marinas, announced that it is partnering with G-Marin of Malta to develop high-end marinas in the Middle East and Africa from headquarters in Dubai. The company this fall added the Newport Yacht Club and Marina in Jersey City, N.J. - across the Hudson River from Manhattan - to its family of marinas, and it acquired the historic Montauk (N.Y.) Yacht Club & Resort two years ago.

"We are growing," says IGY president Charles Garner, with the focus on New England, Mexico and Europe, as well as the Middle East.

The Palm Harbor Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach, Fla., celebrated its opening at the show. Located at the Flagler Bridge, the 200-slip marina berths yachts from 50 to 250 feet, pumps fuel, and offers high-end services (yoga, fitness center and gourmet food) and easy access to Palm Beach's nightlife.

Meanwhile, in Central America, the first 100 slips of Marina Pez Vela, a full-service sportfishing marina in Quepos, Costa Rica, is opening, says Jim Bronstien, a principal in the facility. It will have a 200-ton lift and ultimately 300 slips, plus a hotel, condominiums and restaurants on the uplands.

Monthly slip fees run $26 to $56 a foot, depending on size; slips are for sale for between $175,000 and $590,000. The developer's Costa Rican bank, a partner in the project, is offering 100 percent financing - almost unheard of in this economy - as an incentive for qualified clients to buy a slip, Bronstien says. He says his market for both slips and upland amenities consists mainly of sport anglers and charter fishing operators drawn to the region's excellent billfishing.

— Jim Flannery



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