F3 Marina is set to break ground in January on a 240-berth fully automated dry stack marina on the Seminole River Canal

F3 Marina is set to break ground in January on a 240 berth fully-automated dry stack marina on the Seminole River Canal in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, making it the second automated dry stack of its type in the US.

The first such facility, The Port Marina, also in Ft Lauderdale – where each of the 146 dry slips are independently owned – is managed by F3 and has been proving the automated technology for the past 10 years.

Upon completion in early 2020, F3 Marina Ft Lauderdale’s dry stack will be five storeys high and rated to withstand a Category 4 hurricane. It will house boats up to 50ft and 35,000 pounds. The automated system, according to F3’s senior vice president Alain Giudice, allows for storage of more boats on a smaller footprint.

“The automated system allows us to lift any size boat of any weight,” Giudice told IBI at the recent Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). “The size is limited only by the crane – which has been used in the commercial shipping industry for decades, and how high the stack can be built.”

F3 Marina worked with a software developer to customise the automation system to dry stack usage. The new facility, an investment of “several million dollars”, will feature a boaters’ lounge, valet parking and full concierge services, but no additional commercial development.

F3 currently owns or manages nine marinas in the US, representing 2,800 slips, with a development project underway in Panama City, Panama, and three other projects Giudice hopes to announce by the end of this year, bringing their slip count to 3,500.

The company’s growth plan is targeting 10,000 slips in the next five years and they hope to build up to 10 automated dry stack facilities worldwide with a focus on the US, Asia, the Emirates, Canada and Europe.

Through its parent company, Founders 3 Real Estate Services, a commercial and residential development and management group, F3 Marina can offer clients full services from feasibility studies, to mixed-use planning, development and management.

“Boats are getting bigger,” Giudice said. “Older marinas have to reconfigure to accommodate them, and still, space is limited. With a [project like Fort Lauderdale], everything happens inside a beautiful building, that could be next to a hotel on the water and you won’t see it. It’s clean and will fit into any mixed-use development,” he said.