Archive for » January 16th, 2018«

Boat Dealer Wants His Property Rezoned, But Sunrise Beach Says Not Without A Plan

SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. — The owner of Heartland Marine says he was misled when he bought a five-acre property on Highway 5, but the city is reluctant to rezone the land without seeing a plan for how it will be used.

The Sunrise Beach Planning and Zoning Commission tabled a rezone request by Jason Todd, owner of Heartland Marine, to rezone his Highway 5 property from Commercial-1 to Commercial-2, at their Monday, Jan. 8 meeting.

The property is located at 16238 Highway 5, in an area considered to be “old town” Sunrise Beach.

“North of the school, to Lake Road 5-35, is considered ‘old town,'” Shrimp Daddy Owner Dean Underwood explained. Underwood’s restaurant is next to the proposed rezone property. “And the PZ committee planned for that area to be light commercial,” he said.

The village received letters of opposition to this rezone request from Sunrise Beach residents and business owners, including Shrimp Daddy’s, Sunrise Cantina, Lake Sunrooms and the American Legion Road Mobile Home Park. The meeting got pretty unruly: a call to order by a gavel was necessary four separate times due to arguments and disruptions.

Multiple citizens and business owners spoke in opposition to the rezone request, due to concerns that Todd was moving his boat dealership to the property. Todd owns Heartland Marine on Route TT, in Sunrise Beach. Underwood contended that the TT property looked like a junk yard. “I don’t want that next to my restaurant,” Underwood said.

“We need to be sure the integrity of the area is maintained,” Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Gerald Jasper agreed.

C-1 zoning allows uses such as restaurants, offices and schools. But if Todd were to obtain a C-2 zoning, he, or anyone that he sold the property to, could use the property for a bar, hotel or large retail operation. According to Sunrise Beach City Planner Roger Corbin, the difference between planning for C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) and C-2 (General Commercial) zoning has to do with traffic use. “C-2 zoning could result in higher traffic use that could be disruptive to the ‘old town’ neighborhood,” Corbin explained.

Todd says when he purchased the property he was told it was zoned Industrial. “Even the person I bought the property from thought it was Industrial,” Todd said.

The businesses on the property before village zoning came into place in 2009 would have required higher than C-1 zoning, but, according to the village master plan, since they have not been operational for more than six months, they cannot be “grandfathered in” and future uses must comply with the current C-1 zoning.

“I am not moving my dealership,” Todd explained. “We sell a high volume of boats… I can’t do that kind of business out of a 5-acre property.” He says his plans are to lease the property out. “If I choose to use the property myself, it might be a small boat showroom or storage,” Todd said. “It is an investment property, and will not be my main dealership.”

But the PZ commissioners and business owners seemed uncomfortable with not knowing what kind of business would be conducted on the property. “We don’t know what his plans are,” Underwood said. “Why would he need C-2 zoning?”

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Dawn Merrill spoke out at the December PZ meeting, stating she was open to helping new businesses come into the village because it is good for everyone. But, at the January PZ meeting she requested income proof and a business plan, before making a decision. “I want to see annual sales and whether or not this will bring tax revenue into the village,” Merrill said.

The board also agreed with Linda Krehbul, a Sunrise Beach resident, who said the empty building on the property was not productive or attractive to other new businesses or residents.

PZ commissioners voted unanimously to table the request pending further information, since they had not received a definitive business plan from Todd.

Todd said he would be happy to present a more detailed plan to the commission, but he said he will not know who he will lease the property to, until it is leased.

The next meeting of the Sunrise Beach Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Sunrise Beach City Hall.


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Expanding boat-building business sets new course in Gardiner …

GARDINER — When Southport Boats hits its stride this year in its new larger manufacturing space in South Gardiner, a new boat is expected to leave the facility every week.

That pace is expected to fulfill the company’s backlog of 50 outstanding orders and to meet the growing demand for its line of center console ocean fishing boats along the East Coast.


photo-store

“It’s fun to build a high-end product, and we build a high-end product,” George Menezes, chief operating officer of Southport Boats, said Monday on the brightly lit manufacturing floor.

For Gardiner, whose history was built on manufacturing, the relocation of the company adds a layer of manufacturing back to the local economy.

“There are a lot of people in Gardiner who have the skills for that kind of work,” Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street and economic development coordinator for the city of Gardiner, said Monday.

“We’ve got this great manufacturing heritage in Gardiner and the space to do it in. When you look at the built space, there’s not a lot of job density that can happen without some kind of manufacturing process.”

The boat closest to completion is a 33-foot model, which will retail for between $350,000 and $380,000.

The company makes boats that range from 27 feet to 33 feet long. This year, it plans to add a new, larger model with a cabin that will be about 40 feet long.

This increase in both the number and kind of boats is being made possible by moving the boat building operation from Augusta at the end of 2017 to vacant warehouse space on River Road.

The expansion is the next step long-term plan which included the acquisition of Southport Boats, announced in August 2017, by Tuxedo Yachts, a holding company created to acquire luxury-oriented boat businesses.

“This space is 55,000 square feet,” Menezes said. “We were in about 15,000 square feet in the other building.”

Currently, the business has 45 total employees. The smaller space limited the company’s ability to expand its output, but with the larger space and the 10 additional employees that were brought on before the move and the 15 to 18 workers the company expects to hire this year, the production pace will pick up.

“In 2017, we built 28 boats,” Menezes said. “We could have built more, but we didn’t have the space. This year, we’ll build upwards of 50, and we have the sales to back it up. We have backlog that will take us through July. A lot of the boats are already paid for.”

Standing in the middle of the noise and activity on the manufacturing floor, Menezes said Southport has six to eight boats in different stages of production going on at any given time. A Southport boat takes six weeks to complete. The company uses an assembly line process, and between its two lines of boats, workers will complete one boat a week.

Southport boats are built by layering fiberglass fabric on a mold and infusing it with a resin in a vacuum to make the composite material hull and the internal support structure. The decks are made on a different mold using the same process. The boats are wired and fitted with speakers, electronics, a refrigerator and outboard motors and finished with upholstered benches and a composite canopy which is fitted to a frame that’s fabricated by another company.

“There’s a big investment in tooling, which are the molds,” Menezes said. “We build an actual-size hull just for the purpose of casting a mold, then we throw it away. Whenever we make a new model, we’ll spend between $300,000 to $800,000 on tooling, for the molds and the jigs and the fixtures.”

The second line the company produces is Carbon Craft luxury tenders; they were originally produced in Florida, but as part of the Southport acquisition, that operation relocated to Maine from the Tampa area. The tenders are made with a carbon fiber composite material. Menezes said they are designed to be light so they can easily be brought on board the megayachts they serve.

The decision to move that line to Maine stems from the cachet that a Maine-built boat has in the industry, said Menezes, who has worked in the industry for three decades.

Tuxedo Yachts acquired the boat builder five months after a Pennsylvania company, Creative Pultrusions Inc., acquired Kenway Corp., which owned Southport Boats.

Kenway, which had started in 1947 as Kenway Boats, started making wooden boats and eventually started producing fiberglass boats. Later, the company shifted its focus to producing a variety of corrosion-resistant and custom-fabricated components like pipes and tanks for industrial clients and opened a facility on Riverside Drive in Augusta.

Over the years, Kenway bought other companies that put it back in the boat-making business: the New Hampshire-based Maritime Skiff in 2007 and the North Carolina-based Southport Boatworks in 2011.

At the time of the Kenway sale, Ian Kopp, then company president, said Southport Boats LLC would continue to be owned by him and Kenneth Priest and Michael Priest. But as the companies grow, he said that business would likely be looking for a location in the greater Augusta area into which it could expand.

As they looked for investors, they instead found buyers.

When Menezes came to Southport four and a half years ago, he said there was a huge opportunity for the brand, and the goal was to assemble a team of people who could make the growth happen. Southport currently occupies only a small slice of the market, and there is potential to secure a larger share, he said.

One of the factors company officials considered in relocating was expandability. Being close to the river doesn’t matter, as the boats are moved to dealers via truck. But finding a space that could accommodate the current level of production and the expected additional production does matter.

“We can grow here. We can go two or three years, and we have the option to grow in this facility because there’s 33,000 square feet on the other side of the wall.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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Expanding boat-building business sets new course in Gardiner

GARDINER — When Southport Boats hits its stride this year in its new larger manufacturing space in South Gardiner, a new boat is expected to leave the facility every week.

That pace is expected to fulfill the company’s backlog of 50 outstanding orders and to meet the growing demand for its line of center console ocean fishing boats along the East Coast.


photo-store

“It’s fun to build a high-end product, and we build a high-end product,” George Menezes, chief operating officer of Southport Boats, said Monday on the brightly lit manufacturing floor.

For Gardiner, whose history was built on manufacturing, the relocation of the company adds a layer of manufacturing back to the local economy.

“There are a lot of people in Gardiner who have the skills for that kind of work,” Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street and economic development coordinator for the city of Gardiner, said Monday.

“We’ve got this great manufacturing heritage in Gardiner and the space to do it in. When you look at the built space, there’s not a lot of job density that can happen without some kind of manufacturing process.”

The boat closest to completion is a 33-foot model, which will retail for between $350,000 and $380,000.

The company makes boats that range from 27 feet to 33 feet long. This year, it plans to add a new, larger model with a cabin that will be about 40 feet long.

This increase in both the number and kind of boats is being made possible by moving the boat building operation from Augusta at the end of 2017 to vacant warehouse space on River Road.

The expansion is the next step long-term plan which included the acquisition of Southport Boats, announced in August 2017, by Tuxedo Yachts, a holding company created to acquire luxury-oriented boat businesses.

“This space is 55,000 square feet,” Menezes said. “We were in about 15,000 square feet in the other building.”

Currently, the business has 45 total employees. The smaller space limited the company’s ability to expand its output, but with the larger space and the 10 additional employees that were brought on before the move and the 15 to 18 workers the company expects to hire this year, the production pace will pick up.

“In 2017, we built 28 boats,” Menezes said. “We could have built more, but we didn’t have the space. This year, we’ll build upwards of 50, and we have the sales to back it up. We have backlog that will take us through July. A lot of the boats are already paid for.”

Standing in the middle of the noise and activity on the manufacturing floor, Menezes said Southport has six to eight boats in different stages of production going on at any given time. A Southport boat takes six weeks to complete. The company uses an assembly line process, and between its two lines of boats, workers will complete one boat a week.

Southport boats are built by layering fiberglass fabric on a mold and infusing it with a resin in a vacuum to make the composite material hull and the internal support structure. The decks are made on a different mold using the same process. The boats are wired and fitted with speakers, electronics, a refrigerator and outboard motors and finished with upholstered benches and a composite canopy which is fitted to a frame that’s fabricated by another company.

“There’s a big investment in tooling, which are the molds,” Menezes said. “We build an actual-size hull just for the purpose of casting a mold, then we throw it away. Whenever we make a new model, we’ll spend between $300,000 to $800,000 on tooling, for the molds and the jigs and the fixtures.”

The second line the company produces is Carbon Craft luxury tenders; they were originally produced in Florida, but as part of the Southport acquisition, that operation relocated to Maine from the Tampa area. The tenders are made with a carbon fiber composite material. Menezes said they are designed to be light so they can easily be brought on board the megayachts they serve.

The decision to move that line to Maine stems from the cachet that a Maine-built boat has in the industry, said Menezes, who has worked in the industry for three decades.

Tuxedo Yachts acquired the boat builder five months after a Pennsylvania company, Creative Pultrusions Inc., acquired Kenway Corp., which owned Southport Boats.

Kenway, which had started in 1947 as Kenway Boats, started making wooden boats and eventually started producing fiberglass boats. Later, the company shifted its focus to producing a variety of corrosion-resistant and custom-fabricated components like pipes and tanks for industrial clients and opened a facility on Riverside Drive in Augusta.

Over the years, Kenway bought other companies that put it back in the boat-making business: the New Hampshire-based Maritime Skiff in 2007 and the North Carolina-based Southport Boatworks in 2011.

At the time of the Kenway sale, Ian Kopp, then company president, said Southport Boats LLC would continue to be owned by him and Kenneth Priest and Michael Priest. But as the companies grow, he said that business would likely be looking for a location in the greater Augusta area into which it could expand.

As they looked for investors, they instead found buyers.

When Menezes came to Southport four and a half years ago, he said there was a huge opportunity for the brand, and the goal was to assemble a team of people who could make the growth happen. Southport currently occupies only a small slice of the market, and there is potential to secure a larger share, he said.

One of the factors company officials considered in relocating was expandability. Being close to the river doesn’t matter, as the boats are moved to dealers via truck. But finding a space that could accommodate the current level of production and the expected additional production does matter.

“We can grow here. We can go two or three years, and we have the option to grow in this facility because there’s 33,000 square feet on the other side of the wall.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


facebook


tweet


email


print


Send questions/comments to the editors.


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