Creditor becomes owner of New River Marina

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Ownership of the New River Marina was transferred to Alex Nichols Aug. 15 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida.

Nichols received the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., marina through the transfer of a deed in lieu of foreclosure as the principal of 84 Marina LLC and the primary secured creditor, owed $13.3 million by the marina’s prior owners Bob and Mary Wickman.

Nichols says the marina is open, and the seamless transfer went smoothly for all involved.

“The takeover, though not what anybody would have chosen, was the only solution to the longstanding financial dilemma that the boatyard faced,” Nichols said. “With the real estate market so tight, and with fuel prices and all of the other economic constraints weighing heavy on the struggling yard, there was no other choice but to move forward with foreclosure in order to recapture the millions I had loaned on the project.”

The marina, which is valued at $21 million per a 2006 appraisal by Roe Minor Realty Consultants, declared bankruptcy last year with $19 million in debt. A bankruptcy auction, motivated by Nichols and more than 130 creditors owed $6,508,453 in unsecured non-priority claims that will not be paid, was held July 17.

However, Judge John K. Olson nullified the July 17 auction a few days later, saying it was a “disaster.” Confusion at the auction erupted over a new, unqualified bidder who reportedly was vetted about an hour prior to the scheduled auction, contrary to the auction rules.

New River Marina LLC is open and will move forward to re-establish its presence as a full service yard for vessels to 100 feet.

“A smaller handful of facilities still cater to this class,” Nichols said. “But this company’s re-emergence as a serious service provider will certainly bode well for the industry.”

Look for the complete story in the September issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Lisa Hoogerwerf Knapp

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