Suntex Marina Investors announced that it made a “significant investment” in Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The Bahia Mar hotel and upland property, which is immediately adjacent to the marina, will continue to be owned, managed and operated by Jimmy and Kenny Tate of Tate Capital as a portfolio investment property for the Tate and Rok families of South Florida.
In conjunction with the investment, Suntex sold its majority stake in the Loggerhead Marine portfolio to its joint venture partner, Equity Lifestyle Properties.
The Bahia Mar Yachting Center property is similar to the Miami Beach Marina and Marina Jack in that it is a large, premier asset, said Bryan Redmond, Suntex president and founding principal.
“We’re enhancing, optimizing and reinvesting for sure,” Redmond told Trade Only Today. “As technology gets better, we want to reinvest. There’s always a way to make marinas better and more up-to-date, which is our plan to continue forward with those properties.”
The key is that the amenities are already there, and Suntex can optimize them, Redmond said.
“It’s all about driving that overall experience,” he said. “People perceive the Miami Beach Marina and Bahia Mar as just being for big yachts. They also have midsize boats that are year-round. A lot of boats run from 30 to 80 feet. There are rental operations and boat clubs … so they’re really catering to anyone.”
One way to get new and potential boaters into the marina is through enhanced food and beverage operations, with more waterfront dining opportunities for residents and visitors to Fort Lauderdale, Redmond said. But getting the word out will take intentional marketing on Suntex’s part, he said.
“We don’t want to discount the megayacht owners because that’s a big part of what’s driving business,” Redmond said. “You’ll continue to see us reinvest in infrastructure for food and beverage, and market through social media. There are ways we can take away that intimidation factor. It’s all about the experience. If we can get them there and are doing our best to facilitate a great experience, hopefully we can get them to sign up to join a club or buy a boat.”
Bahia Mar Yachting Center has 250 slips, can handle vessels to 300 feet along its 3,000-foot parallel dock, and has more than 5,000 feet of floating dockage. It also offers high-speed fueling, free Wi-Fi, cable TV, in-slip pumpout, a marine store, a dive shop and a maintenance provider.
“We understand that captains and their crews need rest time, and we want them to enjoy their experience at the Bahia Mar as much as their guests,” said Ron TenEyck, senior vice president of Suntex, in a statement. “This is also one of the areas that we plan to expand upon to ensure our visitors will continue to appreciate the Bahia Mar Yachting Center as a world-class venue.”
Redmond emphasized that the “Tate family is remaining in control of the Bahia Mar and have big ideas and plans about what they want to do with the uplands and hotel. They brought in Suntex to partner with them and be the operator of the marina.”
“Kenny and I have appreciated the great working relationship with RCI Marine as a partner and manager of the Bahia Mar Yachting Center over the past five years,” said Jimmy Tate, president of Tate Capital, in the statement. “However, we are very excited to work closely with Suntex and affect a smooth, seamless and successful transition.
The investment in Bahia Mar Yachting Center coincides with Suntex’s sale of its majority stake in the Loggerhead Marina portfolio to its joint venture partner Equity Lifestyle Properties.
The divestiture and restructuring is intended to focus energies on large, amenity-based marinas and create opportunities for geographic diversification, according to Suntex.
“We transacted with [Equity Lifestyle Properties] in first week of September,” Redmond said. “They were our joint venture partner from the beginning in that deal. We’ve been proud of our team in investing in those properties and growing earnings. In talking to ELS, they were excited about continuing to be in the business. We had the opportunity to make a large investment in Bahia Mar. Looking at the portfolio and the fact that we wanted to focus on on larger, premier assets, that made a lot of sense for us.”
Suntex will prioritize expenditures on the operation and development of such facilities as Liberty Landing, Marina Jack, Miami Beach Marina, State Dock Marina and the redevelopment of Las Olas Marina.