Silly solution or ingenious investment?
Throughout the Southeast, the marina industry is considered the most fragmented real estate entity that exists and is historically dominated by mom and pop type owners. Expenses associated with operating a working boatyard or marina in a heavily populated area like South Florida, have grown exponentially in the past 10 years. Skyrocketing property taxes and astronomical insurance rates have forced many of these marina owners to make the decision to sell. More often than not, this scarce waterfront property is sold to a developer for an alternative use (typically residential or hotel/resort).
Preservation of dockage is extremely important in South Florida because of the limited supply of waterfront property available and the major importance the marine industry has on the local economy. This is where commercial marina developers come into play. By enhancing an existing, successful marina already situated on prime real estate through redevelopment and selling the slips, modern dry rack storage facilities insure that the waterfront property will never be developed into anything other than a marina.
There is no question that South Florida will continue to lose valuable slips unless real estate developers and marina owners figure out economically viable ways to keep the facility operating. Many in the industry believe that indoor dry rack storage, commonly referred to as “dockominiums,” may be the answer.
When a boat owner purchases a dockomium, he or she receives actual title to a condominium unit, and the common elements are owned and maintained by the owners’ association and paid for with monthly dues. Just like residential condominiums, each title holder owns a small part of the facility (a slip) independently, and they also own a share of the common elements, of which the maintenance and upkeep costs are shared by all of the association members.
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