On Tuesday, the St. Lucie County Commission awarded Derecktor a 30-year lease worth $37 million to establish and operate a megayacht repair facility. The 12.3-acre property, currently the Indian River Marine Terminal, sits at the head of a deepwater inlet. The property will be named Derecktor Fort Pierce.
"The sailing yacht market is not serviced by any yard in this country," Paul Derecktor told Trade Only Today. "The port with its deep water and no bridges or powerlines to block access to the water allows for us to service these vessels with their tall masts."
The new shipyard will be unique in the U.S., the company said in a statement. It will be the first facility designed specifically to accommodate power and sailing yachts in the 200 ft. plus range. “Until now, these large yachts, particularly sailing vessels which require extreme overhead clearance and considerable water depth, have had few or no shipyard options in this country,” said the statement.
Derecktor said there is much to do in a short time to get the facility ready to accept boats this year. Floating and dry docks must be built, seawalls repaired, mobile lifts installed and the port terminal building must be renovated. That will represent several million dollars investment in infrastructure.
Derecktor plans to move its headquarters from its current base in Dania Beach, Florida, to Fort Pierce. Additionally, Derecktor plans to start a welding school immediately and Derecktor will work with Indian River State College on a megayacht repair training program.
Fiskind & Associations, a consultant based in Orlando, said a working port could create 900 skilled-trade jobs in three to five years.
Derecktor will have 75 days to inspect the site. It will have until September 1 to apply for permits. The first payment of $250,000 is due by the 1 of July.
County Commissioners were “overjoyed” with the signing of the contract, saying it represented a sea change for the port. "This is getting ready to change the face of this county and the faces of the neighborhoods who have long since struggled," County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky told local media.
Under the agreement, Derecktor will have a 30-year lease with the option for three, 15-year renewals. Its annual rent and franchise fee from 2020 through 2028 is $1.391 million. The county will receive bonus fees if gross revenues at the shipyard are above $40 million.
The county purchased the property in January 2018 for $25 million. Commissioners wanted more control over how the port is developed. The port can also receive state grants to help pay for redevelopment.
Derecktor said it plans to have a vessel docked at the yard within two months and will start the welding program in the next month.