Fla. investment group buys North East marina
Looking at potential second purchase in town
— 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-
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.
McDaniel’s Yacht Basin was sold last week to Galahad Marine Properties, a new Florida-based investment group.