Bertram Yacht has started its historic move to Merritt Island, Fla., after building boats in Miami for more than 50 years.
It's big news, and Bertram held a three-hour event last Wednesday at the new 37-acre site to announce it. A half dozen speakers, including state Sen. Thad Altman and key economic officials, took the podium, and roughly 60 members of the media and the marine industry were on hand. About 50 Bertram employees also attended, making the day trip together on a charter bus.
The move officially starts this summer, but the company has already brought its molds for the Bertram 80 to the site. Bertram expects to complete the move within the months of October and November and begin working on the first boat in late September.
Click play to view excerpts from the press conference, including an interview with Bertram president Alton Herndon.
Bertram has agreed to a 7-year lease and option to buy with the site's owner, Vectorworks Marine LLC (www.vectorworksmarine.com), which purchased it from Sea Ray, says James Henderson, Ferretti Group chief marketing officer for North America. Ferretti owns Bertram and several other boat brands, such as Pershing, Riva and Mochi Craft.
During the last four years, Bertram looked at more than 30 plant sites from North Miami to Virginia Beach, Va., Bertram president Alton Herndon told Trade Only. The company will try to relocate as many of its roughly 125 employees as possible and hopes to expand its work force to about 220 in the next few years, he said.
The builder will operate out of an 87,000-square-foot building initially, and the company plans to erect a second building and come away with 111,000 square feet by the end of the year, Bertram vice president of manufacturing Ken Beauregard told Trade Only.
— Chris Landry