Carlyle drops anchor at Lauderdale Marine Center

The Carlyle Group announced Thursday that it has acquired the Lauderdale Marine Center, the nation’s largest yacht facility and marina, which it plans to renovate and expand amid growing demand for mega-yacht space.

The 50-plus-acre property, at 2001 SW 20 Street in Fort Lauderdale, is deemed largest in terms of the number of large vessels that it can haul and service, according to Carlyle, a Washington, D.C.-based global asset management firm.

The sellers were Selvin Passen and business partner Morio Mito, who paid a total of $18.05 million for the site, in three purchases dating from 1997 to 2014, according to property records. In December 2013, the owners received a $60 million loan from BankUnited to refinance the site.

Stiles Realty brokered the latest sale, but neither Stiles nor Carlyle would disclose the purchase price, and the sale has not yet appeared in Broward County records. Stiles Realty Broker Associate Julie Fisher Berry represented the sellers.

Scott Wadler, associate director of HFF, brokered the financing for the deal. He declined to disclose the loan amount or lender.

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Equity for the transaction comes from Carlyle Realty Partners VII, a U.S. real estate investment fund, Carlyle said in a release.

Located on the New River, the 50-acre facility includes a boatyard, marina and marine service center. It accommodates boats up to 200 feet with 19 covered sheds and 156 wet slips, has three marine travel lifts with haul-out capacity up to 330 tons, and features 7,000 linear feet of dockage. Lauderdale Marine Center also leases work space and office space to about 60 on-site contractors that provide various marine-related services such as fiberglass repair, electrical, painting, brokerage and insurance.

Carlyle said its plans for Lauderdale Marine Center include minor renovations and several expansions, including adding additional paving in the southwest corner of the property to allow for additional mega-yacht repair space; completing the renovations at the adjacent River Bend boatyard and incorporating that property into Lauderdale Marine Center; and developing a new management and leasing office on the site.

The marine industry is a major driver South Florida’s economy’s, and mega-yacht space is considered in short supply. According to a 2014 study by Thomas J. Murray & Associates, conducted for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the tri-county marine industry had an estimated economic impact of $11.5 billion in gross output, including $4 billion in wages and earnings, and an associated 136,000 jobs, Carlyle said.

“In partnership with the outstanding management team and staff at LMC, we will build upon LMC’s success through growth and continued innovation and superb customer service,” Thad Paul, managing director at The Carlyle Group, said in a statement. “Favorable demand trends in the mega-yacht industry and the high barriers to entry for new supply in Southeast Florida attracted us to the investment.”