July 21, 2019
Port of Fort Pierce targets megayacht industry

Photo:

Yacht appeal: No bridges or powerlines between the port and the nearby inlet.

Transportation

Port of Fort Pierce targets megayacht industry

Mike Vogel | 4/26/2019

As veteran port executive Stan Payne says, recent times have been a golden age for Florida ports. State, local and federal governments have invested $3 billion to rev up the state’s ports as economic engines.

Then there’s the Port of Fort Pierce, the little engine that couldn’t. It has “not come close to achieving its potential in terms of economic development,” St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton said earlier this year.

Nearly a century old, the port is unusual in Florida in that, until last year, all of its working waterfront and most of nearby port acreage was in private hands. Back in the day, it shipped citrus. More recently, it has handled Bahamas-bound building materials and cargo for Guantanamo Bay, but volumes have dwindled.

The county hopes the port’s slow days are about to change in a big way. In 2018, it paid $22 million to buy the 12.5-acre working waterfront. In April, the county was holding talks with Derecktor Shipyards, a firm with facilities at Dania Beach in Florida and in New York and Maine, to develop a megayacht service yard at the port as a maintenance, retrofit and overhaul site. “It’s going to change the perception and the reality and the economics of the Treasure Coast,” County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky has said.

In addition to the waterfront purchase, the county spent another $3 million to acquire a 10% stake in 67 undeveloped acres at the port held by a separate private owner. The county already owned another 20 undeveloped acres.

Both the county and Derecktor see the port as well positioned for the superyacht business, with a special appeal for sailing vessels. No bridges or powerlines lie between the port and the nearby inlet.

Payne, hired last year as executive director of the seaport and county airport, is a former CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority. He says that a megayacht service yard at the port could bring 900 well-paying jobs in high-skill fields, including yacht plumbers and electricians. Derecktor plans to develop programs with nearby Indian River State College to train workers. “The job-creation opportunities are tremendous,” Payne says.

Payne also sees synergy between the yacht facility and an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar being developed 10 miles away at the 3,660-acre Treasure Coast International Airport and Business Park. The seaport and airport are tied together with Customs service and under a foreign trade zone. “Interesting in that both are in the midst of transformations, both focused on creating a trained, technical workforce to support the MRO business,” Payne says. “Great stuff. Keeps things hopping.”

 

Read more in our May issue.

Select from the following options:

EXISTING
DIGITAL
SUBSCRIBERS

Access Article Now!

DIGITAL
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single DIGITAL copy of this issue

$4.95

PRINT
SINGLE
ISSUE

Get a single PRINT copy of this issue

$4.95
plus $3 postage & handling

PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

One year in PRINT

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION

One year DIGITAL

$14.98*
plus a FREE gift!

ALL ACCESS SUBSCRIPTION

One year Combo
PRINT + DIGITAL

$24.95*
plus a FREE gift!


CURRENT  PRINT  SUBSCRIBERS

If you are already a print subscriber,
ADD DIGITAL EDITION ACCESS
to your existing subscription here!
(or call our office at 727-892-2643)

* offer valid for new subscribers only

Tags: Government/Politics & Law, Transportation, Economic Backbone, Feature

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

‘Beautiful Downtown Lutz:’ How a small town became the unlikely subject of a hit song
‘Beautiful Downtown Lutz:’ How a small town became the unlikely subject of a hit song

With a population of about 20,000, Lutz would seem an unlikely topic for a radio single. And yet, it was.
 
 

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you believe funeral homes should be required to post their prices online?

  • Yes
  • No

See Results

Florida Trend Magazine
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701
727.821.5800

© Copyright 2019 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.