Fla. in­vest­ment group buys North East ma­rina

Look­ing at po­ten­tial sec­ond pur­chase in town

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— A Florid­abased in­vest­ment group bought McDaniel Yacht Basin last week for an undis­closed amount of money and is ex­pected to buy a sec­ond North East-area ma­rina be­fore the end of Septem­ber.

Gala­had Marine Proper-

NORTH EAST

ties (GMP), a group of in­vestors fo­cused on ma­rina and marine-re­lated busi­nesses, has al­ready started mak­ing changes to the 87-year-old ma­rina that has been owned by North East res­i­dent Tommy Trainer for the last 54 years.

Trainer says the sale last week has left him with mixed emo­tions.

“It’s bit­ter­sweet,” he said Thurs­day. “But, it’s time to re­tire. I will miss my many ex­cel­lent cus­tomers and friends.”

Trainer will, how­ever, help the new own­ers through a six-month tran­si­tion phase.

“Now, I don’t have to pay the bills,” he chuck­led. “I’m just an ad­viser.”

McDaniel Yacht Basin, lo­cated at 15 Grand­view Ave. in North East, is one of the big­gest mari­nas on the North­east River, sit­u­ated on 19 acres with about 200 slips and stor­age for 400 boats, sales, ser­vice and sup­plies. It had an ask­ing price of $5 mil­lion.

“We are ex­cited to be here,” owner Dominic

Ni­cosia said of his new ac­qui­si­tion.

Ni­cosia and his man­age­ment team, all with more than 20 years busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence, share an am­bi­tious goal of pur­chas­ing two to three marine-re­lated busi­nesses a year for the next sev­eral years to form a net­work.

This is their first ac­qui­si­tion, but they have two more ma­rina pur­chases lined up for 2016. One is in close prox­im­ity to McDaniel’s Yacht Basin and the other is south of An­napo­lis.

The buy­ers wouldn’t re­veal the name of the sec­ond ma­rina un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, but Grasso Realty has Shel­ter Cove Yacht Basin and Ma­rina, owned by Woody Jack­son, on the mar­ket listed for $6.7 mil­lion. It’s in close prox­im­ity and sits on about 11 acres.

Once the net­work is es­tab­lished, the groups hopes to de­liver “concierge level ser­vices and ameni­ties across all as­pects of re­cre­ational boat­ing,” Ni­cosia said.

“We are fo­cus­ing our ex­pan­sion up and down the East Coast right now,” said Todd Bruck, who will serve as op­er­a­tions man­ager.

The vi­sion is to ac­quire sev­eral mari­nas that will have their own iden­tity, but will op­er­ate un­der the par­ent um­brella of GMP, al­low­ing any mem­ber to have full ac­cess to all of the mari­nas owned by GMP.

In less than a week on the prop­erty, they’ve be­gun trim­ming trees, beach cleanup and dis­pos­ing of un­wanted items. They’ve power-washed the main build­ings and done some paint­ing and mi­nor re­pairs.

“We orig­i­nally hoped to be open this spring, but this end of sum­mer set­tle­ment is ac­tu­ally a bless­ing in dis­guise,” Bruck said, al­low­ing the new own­ers to make ad­just­ments over the win­ter and be ready to go with new ameni­ties in the spring.

He’s not sure yet how many em­ploy­ees they will need to hire, Bruck said. They plan to do new site and land­scap­ing plans to help them uti­lize the prop­erty as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble.

“We may even con­sider a dif­fer­ent en­trance to the prop­erty,” he said.

They will not change the McDaniel’s Yacht Basin name. How­ever, they will erect new sig­nage that in­cor­po­rates the Gala­had logo some­time over the win­ter sea­son.

“We’re go­ing to add new dry stor­age racks, ren­o­vate the fuel dock, ren­o­vate or re­place the re­strooms and show­ers, build a new pic­nic pavil­ion in the main park to be named Gala­had Park and a new ship store,” Bruck said.

The new own­ers also hope to im­prove the level of cus­tomer ser­vice at their mari­nas, Bruck said. The new own­ers are in the midst of putting to­gether new ser­vice agree­ments with bulk pack­ages they will be rolling out soon. The pack­age would com­bine ser­vices such as tak­ing boats out of the wa­ter, win­ter­iz­ing them and putting them back into the wa­ter for spring for one price.

They hope to get in­volved in the com­mu­nity and be­gin host­ing events on their prop­erty, such as wine tast­ings or art shows open to the public next sea­son.

“Our goal is to make our mari­nas a des­ti­na­tion for boaters,” Ni­cosia said.

Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Scott Pier­son and Kevin Pratt, a part­ner, joined Ni­cosia and Bruck on site this week work­ing on the tran­si­tion at McDaniel’s Yacht Basin.

“We’ll be here as long as it takes,” Bruck said.

Ge­orge Mech­ler, who re­cently moved to North East, is the new site man­ager at McDaniel’s and al­ready on the job.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

McDaniel’s Yacht Basin was sold last week to Gala­had Marine Prop­er­ties, a new Florida-based in­vest­ment group.

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