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Palm Harbor Marina set to expand

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The northernmost docks in the show — those lovely concrete docks that house the largest yachts — belong to Palm Harbor Marina. And they’re about to expand.

The marina is in the permitting phase of a 1000-foot expansion that will see finger piers stretch south off its southern dock. The T-head will have 290 feet of dockage, three finger piers will offer slips up to 160 feet, and several other slips will take yachts up to 120 feet.

The basin is 11 feet, and developers plan to extend that depth throughout the expansion as well.

“We hope to get started in June so it will be ready for next season,” said John Smundin, marina manager at Palm Harbor. “If it gets delayed, we’ll probably wait until next year.”

The docks will be built by Marine Tech, the same company that built its existing concrete docks so it will look as seamless as possible, Smundin said.

The slips will have 100-amp, 480v, three-phase power, with the option to use single phase.

The marina owners have also received the OK to build a 100-plus-room hotel on its parking lot, so Smundin said he is eager to offer its amenities including pool and spa to his marina customers.

Other developments in Palm Beach County include the 26-acre project between Viking and the city of Riviera Beach, which will include waterfront restaurants, public space and parking, marine-related commercial space, and possibly a hotel and residential units.

Viking also has invested millions in its service center in recent years.

“Seventy percent of the boats we build pass Palm Beach Inlet every year,” said Pat Healey, president/CEO of Viking Yacht Company.

Viking now has 175 employees there in three companies, servicing 500 boats a year.

Palm Harbor Marina docks. Photo by Lucy Reed

Palm Harbor Marina docks. Photo by Lucy Reed

“The service side grows your business,” Healey said during the show’s media breakfast on opening day yesterday. “We have a five-year plan to grow. We’re going to go from the 65 boats we’re building this year to 100 boats a year in five years. That’s a 15 percent increase, and that growth will come down to Palm Beach County for service.”

The marina business in Palm Beach County has seen a surge in business in the past year. At Palm Harbor, occupancy has increased 15 percent a year, and the past two winters it has been at full capacity, Smundin said.

The Old Port Cove properties have seen its customers, mainly from the Northeast and Midwest, sign longer leases, said Richard Morgan, president of Old Port Cove Holdings. What used to be reluctance to sign monthly leases has turned into ease signing seasonal and annual leases, he said.

Several of the speakers at the breakfast panel discussion praised the show for its ease of parking, its accessibility and its relaxed atmosphere.

“People are not wanting to got to Miami anymore,” Healey said. “There are so many ways to get to this waterfront. It’s a no-hassle, big-thrill boat show. And we’re all in.”

Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of Triton Today. Comments: lucy@the-triton.com.

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