New megayacht repair centre in Florida will be operated by Derecktor Shipyards

It took longer than anticipated, but the Port of Fort Pierce Florida will have a new megayacht repair centre operated by Derecktor Shipyards.

The 30-year, US$33m contract was delayed while the county and state Department of Environmental protect determined the boundaries of the submerged lands at the southern end of the port’s dock. The boundaries were an important part of the contract as Derecktor wants to use the area for a mobile lift that will raise vessels out of the water and on to the dock for repairs, according to TCPalm.com.

Once approved by the full county commission, the contractual terms will include a monthly rent payment of US$1.1m starting in September 2020; options for three 15-year renewals at the end of the 30-year contract; Derecktor will start a megayacht repair training program with Indian River State College and will move its corporate headquarters from Dania Beach, Florida to Fort Pierce within three years.

The new operation, managed by yacht captain Buddy Haack and owned by Sandy Woods of Treasure Coast Lexus and National Football League star Khalil Mack, hasn’t waited for the final details to be settled and already has four yachts on site, including the 164ft Vibrance, which is in dry dock for three months for a US$1m paint job, according to TCPalm.com.

St Lucie County purchased the 12.3-acre former Indian River Marine Terminal property at the port for $25m in January of 2018, saying it wanted more say in how the port is developed. Reviving the dormant 290-acre port, just north of downtown, into a megayacht repair centre is a key component in the county and Fort Pierce’s economic-development plan to bring jobs to the northwest part of the county.

A working port would create up to 900 skilled-trades jobs in three and five years, according to estimates from consultant Fishkind & Associates of Orlando.

County Commission chairwoman Linda Bartz said she is pleased with the contract because it creates jobs that will pay above minimum wage and help the younger generations stay in the area.

“It is too late for my kids,” Bartz said. “I wished there was something like this for them, to give them an opportunity. At least the children coming up will have that option.”