Four companies have submitted plans to lease and operate the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.
In their proposals, each of the companies discussed how they would repair and renovate the more than 50-year-old marina, which was built in the 1960s and needs modernization to continue effectively serving the boating population, according to a master plan developed in November 2017.
The bidders include Safe Harbor Marinas, a Dallas company that already leases The Harborage Marina at Bayboro. Safe Harbor Marinas kicked off the process with an unsolicited proposal in April. That triggered a call for alternative plans and three of them came in before the deadline on Friday.
The latest proposals are from Island Global Yachting, the New York-based company behind the Maximo Marina redesign; Safe Harbor Development, a Knoxville, Tennessee company with a diverse portfolio of projects including the Margaritaville Hotel under construction in downtown Nashville; and St. Petersburg Downtown Marina LLC, a newly formed group with local managing directors.
It’s up to city officials to decide if they will accept any of the proposals. A date for making a decision wasn’t specified in the bidding process.
The St. Petersburg Municipal Marina is adjacent to the St. Pete Pier and has about 660 boat slips, including the 104-slip St. Petersburg Yacht Club in its Central Basin, and the 74-slip Vinoy Marina in its North Basin. It’s owned by the city of St. Petersburg, which would retain ownership of the assets in a public-private partnership.
Such partnerships, known as P3’s, are a contractual arrangement where a government agency contracts with a private partner to renovate, construct, operate, maintain and/or manage a facility or system that provides a public service, according to the Council of Development Finance Agencies. The city already has P3s in place for projects such as the Mahaffey Theater and Al Lang Field.
Here are some highlights from the proposals for the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.
• Island Global Yachting Limited, a New York-based company with regional offices in Fort Lauderdale, South Carolina and the United Kingdom. Island Global worked on the $25 million redesign of Maximo Marina in the Skyway Marina District, with its engineering subsidiary Applied Technology and Management and with Orion Marine Group.
Lease: Initial five-year lease that could be extended to 30 years or more. IGY would have the right to set rates for the rental of wet slips, with the annual rates increasing as much as 3 percent per year; in the third, fourth and fifth years of the lease, the rates could go up as much as 12 percent.
Infrastructure: Island Global Yachting would plan and finance the renovation and replacement of the dock infrastructure in the South Basin and Central Basin and be responsible for any cost overruns over $30 million.
Rent terms: Island Global Yachting would pay the city 15 percent of the annual gross revenue it collects in operating the marina.
Island Global Yachting said it also would also contribute $100,000 annually for community waterfront and boating activities at the marina during the term of the lease.
• Safe Harbor Development, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based company that has acquired and transformed 12 marinas in the past 20 years. The company’s resume also includes water parks, hotels, RV resorts, retail, restaurants and event centers.
Lease: Safe Harbor Development wants a 10-year least with options to extend it. Annual rents would not increase by more than 10 percent over the prior year for the first five years, and increases would not exceed 5 percent thereafter.
Infrastructure: A minimum capital investment of $30 million for the South Basin and Central Basin renovation.
Rent terms: Safe Harbor Development would pay the city base rent each year of $250,000 subject to an annual increase of 2.5 percent. The company also would pay 25 percent of gross revenues collected through marina operations, subject to rent offsets, or the amount of capital investment required.
Safe Harbor Development also wants to work with the city to design and build a municipal parking garage to allow for easier access to the marina. “[Safe Harbor Development] sees parking as the largest impediment to the growth and vitality of this entire area and the success of surrounding businesses will depends on it or a municipal trolley systems could be implemented as we have done in other areas.”
The company included a letter from Mountain Commerce Bank in Knoxville, saying that Darby Campbell, president of Safe Harbor Development, could receive up to $5 million for future projects.
• St. Petersburg Downtown Marina LLC. The company’s managing directors are Dan Driscoll, co-founder, US Federal Contractor Registration Inc.; Peyton Lockey Yon Sr., owner-operator of Yon Realty LLC and other businesses; and Peter Privitera, a CPA and owner Great State Mortgage Co. Michael Daily, a former contractor for Navy underwater weapons systems and a tenant at the marina, would be dockmaster.
Lease and infrastructure: The proposal wasn’t as specific as the others, but said the marina is in need of repairs urgently. “The marina also needs renovation in the amount of $30 million. We want to do the repairs over the next 30 years, doing the most needed repairs and improvements first. Our firm has planned to finance these repairs and pay for them with the continued increased operating profits of the marina.”
The company would add larger boat slips and slowly raise slip rates “to reflect the true value of the marina.” It didn’t provide a specific potential rate increase. It also would charge $40 a month for parking stickers. Parking at the marina currently is free.
Rent terms: St. Petersburg Downtown Marina would split revenue with the city and give 20 percent of all revenue generated to the city. That would be about $1.4 million a year by the fifth year of the lease, the proposal said.
St. Petersburg Downtown Marina said it would not have a large buyout clause in its lease with the city, unlike some of the other proposals. The company also said it would maintain a bond to cover five years of operating return, removing any risk of nonpayment to the city by the firm.
Safe Harbor Marinas, the original bidder, also updated its proposal to add renderings and more details of its renovation plans for the South Basin and Central Basin.
Safe Harbor Marinas wants a 30-year lease, with an initial five-year term. The company would have the right to set rates for wet slip rentals, with the rates capped at 12 percent annually once construction work is underway. Safe Harbor Marinas would pay rent to the city, equal to 15 percent of the annual gross revenue it collects through operation of the marina.