By Dorie Cox
Former yacht captain Buddy Haack believes that megayachts should be able to get work done in Ft. Pierce, Fla. At the same time, that town’s home county of St. Lucie is ready to develop for the same reason.
So Haack is preparing to share his vision of a new Ft. Pierce Megayacht Center with a proposal for county commissioners at their meeting April 17. The area is Harbour Pointe Park, 20 acres of waterfront land on the north side of the Port of Fort Pierce at the base of the inlet where the Intracoastal Waterway meets Taylor Creek.
“It’s not far from the turning basin, and we’ve applied for a dredge permit,” Haack said.
County officials had requested plans to develop the area, and in mid-March were given two proposals, according to a news story with Treasure Coast newspapers. The other is from a Ft. Lauderdale company called ASATA, the paper reported.
“The county’s goal is the development of a world-class facility that will create well-paying jobs not only on Harbour Pointe itself but through the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new ones within the community,” the newspaper quoted a county report as stating. “In choosing a development partner, the county fully expects that the development of the site will create a wave of economic activity throughout the region.”
Commission Chairman Chris Dzadovsky urged commissioners to move forward with this project at a meeting in mid-March, according to the newspaper.
“We cannot sit here and let this property stay idle when it could be used for an economic generator,” Dzadovsky said.
About two years ago, Haack leased a nearby property at the former Indian River Terminal with similar intentions. On that site he managed several refits, including the 213-foot (65m) Codecasa M/Y Double Down, while working as managing partner with Taylor Lane Yacht and Ship in Dania Beach, Fla.
Although that lease arrangement ended, the property’s success has fueled Haack’s desire to work in the area, which is about 100 nautical miles north of Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades.
His plan includes an indoor shed that can house yachts up to 250 feet.
Currently, the property is raw land; Haack expects the build out of docks, yard and buildings to take up to 30 months.
“I have just always wanted to build an indoor yard with haul-out capacity, a kind of floating dry dock to pull in and lift,” he said. “We want a pleasant environment to work in with the yachts. People want to work inside, too.”
The idea is to get the yachts, people and equipment out of the sun and wind for safer, better working conditions, he said.
“This is done in commercial and aviation, so why not in yachting?” he said. “The concept is a good one; it is badly needed. I got a call yesterday from a captain who wanted to come to Ft. Pierce. I had to tell him I’m not there right now, but we’re very confident.”
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome below.