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Westrec has a deal to run two marinas on Florida’s west coast

The management company also plans to open a drystack facility in Miami next spring.
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Westrec has a deal to run two marinas on Florida’s west coast.

Westrec has a deal to run two marinas on Florida’s west coast.

Westrec Marinas has begun to manage two facilities on Florida’s west coast that investors recently purchased, the marina operator/owner said at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Westrec’s contracts to manage Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda and Cape Harbour Marina in Cape Coral reflect a new industry trend, says Jim Frye, Westrec’s vice president for development. CRE GS Properties LLC, a Minneapolis investor group, bought them.

“We’re seeing more investor interest in marinas,” Frye says. “There’s a ton of equity in the market, and some of it is getting placed in marina properties.”

Suntex Marinas of Dallas “has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to invest in marinas,” he says. Its website says it owns and operates more than 40 of them.

“There’s a trend toward this boutique investment in marina space that is good for the overall health of the marinas,” Frye says.

Investors usually upgrade a marina, which is good because many marinas don’t have the capital to make improvements.

Today’s investors are willing to look at a marina as a long-term investment, Frye says — one in which the value is in the land, but it’s still the marina that makes the land attractive. Investors may have plans to redevelop the upland, perhaps for a residential high-rise, but Frye says the marina remains an important part of the package.

“They’ve got to manage the marina to realize their return,” he says.

That’s where Westrec comes in — as a management company with long experience. Burnt Store has 525 fixed-dock wet slips and 348 dry storage spaces; Cape Harbour has 76 wet slips and a 34,000-square-foot dry storage building.

Separately, Westrec says it plans to open a 500-slip drystack facility for boats to 50 feet in Miami’s Haulover Park next spring. The $20 million-plus drystack will be 80 feet high, and its footprint will cover the length of two football fields, Westrec vice president Gary Groenewold says.

The new facility will be served by two Wiggins forklifts, each with a capacity of 7,800 pounds — the biggest lifts that Wiggins Lift Co. makes, he says.

Westrec has a 25-year lease with Miami-Dade County for the land the drystack is built on, Groenewold says. The facility responds to a growing demand for storage for 45- to 50-foot boats powered by triple or quad outboards, he says.

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue.



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