Marina Jack in Sarasota, Florida, recognized as National Marina of the Year in 2015, has been sold to Suntex Marina Investors LLC. The Dallas-based investment firm did not disclose the sale price. The merger includes the 316-slip marina in downtown Sarasota, adjacent to Oleary’s Tiki Bar, as well as Bayfront Yacht Works & Marina, Bayfront Excursions and Turtle Beach Grill on south Siesta Key, Florida. “This is without question a merger of strengths from an operational and managerial standpoint,” says Robert L. Soran, CEO of Marina Jack. “We share a vision of future growth opportunities for our people and our combined companies.” Soran will have an equity interest and board advisory capacity with Suntex. Suntex now has a portfolio of 34 marinas in Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and St. Maarten.
With direct, no-bridge access to the Gulf of Mexico, Marina Jack’s marina operations have kept up facelifts and improvements at a pace that is matching the transformation of downtown Sarasota. The marina features slip accommodations for vessels up to 228 feet with 316 wet and dry slips, a full-service fuel dock, ship’s store, and an on-site Yacht Services department. Downtown Sarasota has become a trendy center for urban condo living and features many eclectic street-side dining venues for foodies, a Saturday morning farmers market, and an ever-changing collection of boutique shops that are favorites of cruisers.
Marina Jack acquired the Turtle Beach Marina in September of 2015. Now known as Bayfront Yacht Works & Marina, this south Siesta Key business features a full-service boatyard with haul-out capabilities for vessels up to 65 feet. Bayfront Yacht Works & Marina adds an additional 60 dry and wet slips to the portfolio, along with a rapidly growing boat and watersport rental business known as Bayfront Excursions. The merger also includes three well-known restaurants, including the Marina Jack II—a 96-foot passenger vessel known for Sarasota’s preeminent sightseeing and sunset dinner cruises.
Holiday Boat Parades
While a few communities are struggling to rebuild docks and find enough money just to survive, let alone sponsor annual lighted boat parades, the show will go on in some of Florida’s Panhandle cities.
• Carrabelle, December 10th: The Boat Parade course starts at the Pavilion on Marine Street and proceeds up the Carrabelle River to the Tillie Miller Bridge. It can be enjoyed from anywhere along Marine Street and Highway 98. carrabelle.org
• Destin, December 11th: Judging of the 30th Annual Harbor Lighted Boat Parade will start at 6PM upstairs at Harry T’s Restaurant. Boats will start lining up in the harbor between 5-5:30PM. Fireworks in the East Pass will light up the sky after the parade.
• Cedar Key and Steinhatchee have both sustained significant dock damage, and at press time, were unsure whether the events normally scheduled for the first week of December would take place.
By Alan Wendt, Southern Boating Magazine December 2016