The City of St Petersburg, Florida, is seeking lease/management proposals for its Municipal Marina, following an unsolicited management proposal from Safe Harbor Marinas presented back in February. The proposal was made public this week as the city issued a legal notice of intent to lease the venue.

The Municipal Marina has approximately 660 wet slips, including the 104-slip St Petersburg Yacht Club in its Central Basin, and the 74-slip Vinoy Marina in its North Basin, according to stpetecatalyst.com. Built in the 1960s, the facility needs modernisation, detailed in a master plan developed in November 2017.

The Safe Harbor proposal commits the needed capital for those renovations, in return for a five-year initial lease term, with the option to extend that to 30 or more years. Safe Harbor would have the right to set rates for wet slip rentals, with rate hikes capped at 12% annually once renovations have begun. Safe Harbor would pay rent to the city equal to 15% of the annual gross revenue of the marina. The company also plans to offer jobs to the existing management and staff at the marina.

Safe Harbor, which bills itself as the largest marina owner/operator in the world, leases the nearby 340-slip Harborage Marina, and owns more than 80 marinas globally.

“Because they manage and run efficiently, they’ve been able to maximise services and minimise the investments. So, when you are talking about owning 80 plus marinas, you’ve got huge buying power. What would cost the city $47m will cost [Safe Harbor] $30m because everything is in-house,” Mario Farias, managing member of the Farias Consulting Group, a St Petersburg company that’s working with Safe Harbor told the website.

The city is accepting management proposals until 7 June, at which time a winning bidder will be announced.

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