Confusion surrounds New River Marina auction

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Did Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group buy New River Marina at Thursday’s bankruptcy auction for $13.4 million? No one is expected to know for sure until Monday because of an objection to procedure at the auction, which was held on the marina’s property in Fort Lauderdale.

“There is a do-over (auction) at 2:30 p.m. on Monday at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale,” said Kit Denison, president of Marine Realty. “It is a real mess. There were two bids, but there was an issue as to whether one of the bids was an intentional bid or not. I had a client there who wanted to bid on it, too.”

The New River Marina location may be an alternative site for Bertram’s highly valued, leased service center located in Fort Lauderdale. Company executives were not available for comment, but Mike Busacca, a broker with Allied, said “I am not sure if it (the bid for purchase) went through or not.”

Wickman and Arthur J. Spector of Berger Singerman, the marina’s law firm, did not immediately return calls to Soundings Trade Only.  Jason Bodnick, spokesperson for CB Richard Ellis, said he was “bound” not to comment.

Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group, a large privately-held yacht, offers brokerage vessels and new yachts, including Tiara, Azimut, Maritimo and Bertram. The company, formed in 2002 by the merger of Richard Bertram Yachts Inc. and The Allied Marine Group, operates 14 sales and service centers from the Florida Keys to Jacksonville. Its service headquarters is in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale on the south side of the New River, across from the landmark Riverwalk and several luxury condominiums. 

Margaret Croxton, executive director of Marina Mile 84 Association, said Allied Richard Bertram’s attorney “stole” the property at the auction, which she felt was overvalued at $21 million. Croxton led a delegation of 15 Marina Mile 84 members to the auction who championed Allied’s bid for the marina. She said there was some “confusion” during the auction.

New River Marina had been appraised at $21 million in 2006 by Roe Minor Realty Consultants. 

Mary and Bob Wickman, owners of the family run marina that repaired and serviced small craft and megayachts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year and had been hoping until the last minute that an investor would step in to save the debt-plagued marina from the auction block.

The marina declared bankruptcy last year with $19 million in debt. Unsecured creditors, led by mortgage holder Alex Nichols of 84 Marina LLC, pushed for the auction and received court approval in April to sell the boatyard to recoup their investments.

“This is a horrible situation,” said Mary Wickman just prior to Thursday’s auction. “We are a victim of the times and the economic climate stinks everywhere.”

Auction Company of America and CB Richard Ellis are responsible for the auction of the 4.65-acre parcel located on the south fork of the New River. With a controllable depth of 10 to 12-feet, New River Marina holds vessels up to 112-feet with 700-feet of water dockage and land storage for 50-60 boats. The property consists of 3.36 acres of upland service yard, .45 acres of fee-simple bottomland, .84 acres of submerged land lease bottomland, 709 linear feet of dockage, and a 7,300 square foot Class B office building.

— By Lisa Hoogerwerf Knapp
Freelance writer

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