Ahoy, country club for boats

Demolition of Jessie's Dockside will start the $80-million marina overhaul.

Published July 4, 2007

DUNEDIN - The Marker One Marina will get an $80-million makeover that will begin with a demolition July 13.

Monday night, the City Commission unanimously approved the final site plan for a redevelopment project submitted by Dunedin businessmen Patrick Sheppard and Michael Sheeks.

The managing partners of Pinellas Marina LLC, they bought the marina for $36-million in March 2006.

The project is a major step toward revitalizing Causeway Boulevard, a goal of city leaders. The site is at 343 Causeway Blvd., west of a channel of St. Joseph's Sound.

Causeway Boulevard, "for a long time, has needed a real shot in the arm in terms of development or redevelopment, " City Commissioner Julie Scales said Tuesday. "I hope this will be a catalyst for further improvements along the causeway."

The site has 144 wet slips. The developer plans to make some slips larger and others smaller, adding boat lifts to about 25 of the slips. The result will be 139 wet boat slips.

The developers also plan to build a high-and-dry facility or "boat barn, " which could hold another 339 boats. Currently, the marina has 90 boats under cover and 100 stored in an outside facility.

Since 1960, the site has operated as a marina. It is also the site of the vacant Jessie's Dockside restaurant.

The restaurant building will be demolished first, said the owners' representative, Dan Dennehy. The new design includes a cafe and a clubhouse.

"This is very much like a country club for boats, " Dennehy said.

The marina will continue to be active throughout the renovation, which will take about a year, Dennehy said.

Renovation plans also include adding the option to purchase or to lease a boat slip, bringing possible investors to the current lease-only system at the marina.

Buying a slip for a 38-foot boat will cost between $189, 000 and $210, 000, Sheppard said. The marina will accommodate up to a 65-foot yacht.

On the higher end, the slip price for a large yacht will be about $390, 000.

For renters, monthly wet slip prices now range from $15 a linear foot to $19 a linear foot.

In response to commissioners' past concerns about sufficient parking, the developer has exceeded the minimum parking requirements of 138 spaces for the project. The developer secured off-site parking to the east of the site for valet parking during peak days. Therefore, the marina will have a total of 157 parking spaces.

"Marinas are about enjoying the Florida lifestyle, " Sheppard said. "We'll be bringing the best of the Florida lifestyle to Dunedin."

In an unrelated vote, commissioners approved a site plan for the first new subdivision to come to the area south of downtown Dunedin in more than 20 years.

The Cottages at Glencairn, developed by Carl Krave's Pocket Neighborhoods Inc. of Dunedin, will consist of 14 cottages starting at about $300, 000. It is planned for the east side of Douglas Avenue, just south of Scotland Street.

Tamara El-Khoury can be reached at tel-khoury@sptimes.com or 727 445-4181.