Final hurdles cleared for construction of $5 million boat center in Waukegan Harbor

The Waukegan Port District approved a long-term lease agreement this month for a Wisconsin-based company’s plan to build a $5 million Chicago Yachting Center with boat sales and service at Waukegan Harbor and Marina.

The agreement calls for a payment of nearly $3 million for a 25-year lease, and Bay Marine of Sturgeon Bay, Inc. has agreed to build a state-of-the-art facility that will offer inside heated and outdoor storage, a fully certified service department and new, used and brokerage yacht sales, said Gregg Pupecki, general manager for the harbor.

The improvements will include a new 85-ton lift arm in the harbor’s South Recreational Basin, which will be installed in a few weeks and, in work that has already started, take out some harbor boat slips along the shoreline, he said.

The development will create a 40,000-square-foot showroom for “high-end marine retail and boats” and a 7,000-square-foot administrative center on a five-acre plot southeast of Madison Street and Pershing Road, which sits on the northern boundary of the port district headquarters.

Kathy Larsen, administrative manager and one of the family owners of Larsen Marine just north of Waukegan Harbor, said Bay Marine will be competition for them and Waukegan Yacht Services, which is also located on port district land next to the Waukegan Harbor.

“I think it’s great for both us,” she said, noting Bay Marine’s bigger lift will allow the company to move 80-foot powerboats, which Larsen cannot move with its slightly smaller lift.

“We welcome the competition. It’s a win-win for everyone,” she said, noting anyone going to their family business or the new marina would naturally make the short trip to check out what the other business has to offer.

“Now they have three choices,” she said, referring to storage and service.


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