Where can I park my yacht? Demand for private marinas is on the rise

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By Kaylee Palak

Beachfront access and ocean views have always been coveted amenities in South Florida, but during the pandemic, a new “super amenity” has emerged: the private marina.

Boat dealers and boat sharing clubs across the country are reporting record sales, as the need for fresh air and safe activities has driven many high-end buyers — especially those fleeing dense cities — to flock to the sea. Needing a place to park those yachts, there is more incentive to purchase a waterfront home with a boat slip.

Many South Florida condo developments have begun capitalizing on this trend.

QUINT Hollywood, a collection of 10 luxury waterfront townhomes, offers a private residents-only marina and boat slips for each resident.

On Miami Beach, Monaco Yacht Club & Residences, a collection of thirty-nine waterfront residences, integrated a private marina into the design that allows buyers to dock their boats on their doorstep. These spaces can fit vessels up to 55 feet and come with a yacht concierge to handle maintenance needs.

According to Ricardo Tabet, CEO of Optimum Development USA and the developer of Monaco Yacht Club & Residences, the majority of their contracted buyers came to the property with the intention of wanting a boat slip. “Having received an overwhelming response for our 12 private slips, I wish I had more boat slips to provide our residents,” he said. “There is no doubt that our next property we develop will feature another private marina.”

In Fort Lauderdale, 160 Marina Bay, a 16-residence luxury waterfront condominium development located off Las Olas Boulevard, will offer 14 boat slips with access to the Atlantic Ocean.

Una, a waterfront tower in Brickell designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and inspired by the teak decking on the iconic Riva yacht, will feature a private marina for bayside excursions. Boutique development Fairchild Coconut Grove has three marina slips available for purchase, and the Turnberry Ocean Club in Sunny Isles Beach gives residents complimentary access, as well as ownership privileges at Turnberry Marina.

Many buyers are looking to park their yachts — and their money — in South Florida, especially international buyers from Latin American and Europe. In the gated community of Eastern Shores, a buyer recently purchased a $2 million-dollar-plus home just to park his yacht and house the crew inside the home.

Compass Agent Chad Carroll recently sold two homes for that same purpose, one on Palm Drive in Hallandale Beach and the other in Fort Lauderdale.

“The pandemic has increased the number of people who want to spend time outdoors and on the water; it’s a COVID-safe way to entertain,” Carroll told South Florida Agent. “Yacht owners don’t want to be limited by lockdowns and marina restrictions. They want the freedom to hop on their boat and enjoy the Miami lifestyle whenever they want.”

According to ONE Sotheby’s Agent Aurora Esteves, a private boat slip is the ultimate luxury, offering more freedom and less restrictions. “Buyers don’t want to buy in a community with a yacht club because they will be experiencing the same restrictions as if they had their yachts in a marina,” she said. “Their experience in the past months has taught them that freedom is a priceless commodity. During the lockdown months, yacht owners were not able to access their yachts due to marina restrictions and closures. This experience moved them to look for properties with private docks to park their yachts and be able to come and stay in case of another lockdown. With the convenience of working from home, anywhere in the world, this seems like the perfect solution.”

For those who can afford it, a home with a private slip makes financial sense as well. “I worked with a client from the Northeast who wanted to have a boat in Miami,” Carroll added. “Instead of paying thousands in marina costs, he chose to park his money into an appreciating asset.”

According to Esteves, demand for residences with private marinas and boat slips is likely to continue. “I think with the unfortunate experience of increased number of people testing positive and the possibility of another lockdown more boat owners are going to be looking to Miami as a place to purchase a home with a private dock,” she said. “I have a prospective buyer who said, ‘being able to access my boat even if only to enjoy a sunset makes me feel free.’”

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