Three entities submit proposals to take over John Wayne Marina in Washington

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John Wayne Marina is currently operated by the Port of Port Angeles.

John Wayne Marina is currently operated by the Port of Port Angeles.

Three organizations have submitted proposals to the Port of Port Angeles commissioners to become the operator of John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Wash.

The city of Sequim; Marsh Andersen LLC, a firm based in Bainbridge Island, Wash.; and Dallas-based Safe Harbor Marinas responded to the port’s request for information and delivered presentations to the port commission in a meeting Tuesday, according to PeninsulaDailyNews.com.

“This may be something where we don’t come up with a final solution for quite some time,” Colleen McAleer, port commissioner for Sequim-area District 11, said in a statement. “It could be many months, or even years, before we identify what will be the right plan going forward for the marina.”

Sequim city manager Charlie Bush said the city’s proposal was to transfer the marina from the port to the city of Sequim.

“The main components of the city’s proposal is the need to keep the marina and the marina property public, and public access to the water, and also to ensure that there is a public component of decision-making in what happens with the property,” said David Garlington, Sequim public works director. “We feel that that can be done only with public ownership, either the port or the city or some other public entity.”

Port officials started the information-gathering process in June 2018 after they realized they couldn’t afford repairs to the marina, said John Nutter, port director of properties, marinas and airports.

Garlington estimated that John Wayne Marina will need $20 million to $30 million in improvements in the next 20 years. “The city feels that there’s an opportunity to develop additional economic interest on that property, or nearby properties, that could be used to finance repairs of the marina,” he said.

One of two private entities that submitted proposals, Marsh Andersen, owns and operates marinas in Port Hadlock, Pleasant Harbor, Gig Harbor and Bainbridge Island, all of which are in Washington. Company representative Bob Wise said the firm’s proposal would have Marsh Andersen operating John Wayne Marina under a 50-year lease that would include annual payments to the port.

“There’d be an annuity stream to the port going forward,” Wise said. “We think it’s important that the port continue to receive money from the marina going forward.”

In addition to the long-term lease, Marsh Andersen would handle maintenance at the facility, and the staff would be employed by the firm or one of its subsidiaries.

Safe Harbor Marinas is also seeking a long-term lease to operate John Wayne Marina. The company operates 93 marinas in 20 states but doesn’t have a presence in the Pacific Northwest. Safe Harbor representative Luke Mason said that the company makes $60 million in capital improvements to its other properties every year and plans to invest in John Wayne Marina.

Doug Larson, speaking on behalf of Ethan Wayne, president of John Wayne Enterprises and son of the late actor, said the family is opposed to selling the marina.

“However, they would not object to an outcome where the port retains ownership of the John Wayne Marina but enters into a long-term agreement with a quality marina operator who will perform the needed capital improvements to ensure the marina operates in a first-class manner for at least the next 40 years and provides equal or preferably improved public access and activities,” said Larson, who is affiliated with Seattle-based real estate and consulting firm Heartland.

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