River mega-yacht marina slip sales begin
Written by John Charles Robbins on August 18, 2015
The plan to build a secure marina for mega-yachts on the Miami River is moving forward at a steady speed, with sales for the unique project kicking off a couple of weeks ago.
SeaVault is designed as a temporary home for 14 mega-yachts with living quarters for captain and crew. The plan includes a clubhouse, tennis court, swimming pool, cold storage building and private vehicle parking on a secured site with tropical landscaping.
The start of sales for SeaVault coincided with the launch of the project’s website, seavaultmiami
.com, said property owner and developer Homero Meruelo.
The sleek new website opens with a video tour along the Miami River and advances the value of “security, privacy, legacy.”
SeaVault is billed as a state-of-the-art mega-yacht marina complex with 14 of the world’s most elaborate yacht berths, all available for individual, deeded slip ownership, for vessels up to 230 feet (70 meters) long.
Mr. Meruelo and his team have been working on this project for more than a year now and he said this week he’s pleased to be gaining momentum this summer.
Admitting the permitting process can be cumbersome, Mr. Meruelo said they have applied to all agencies involved in commerce on the river, from the federal level to Miami-Dade County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) and the City of Miami.
For the project to proceed, the city’s planning and zoning office needed to approve the crew living quarters as part of the commercial marina.
The approval in the form of a letter was great news for Mr. Meruelo.
“That was a very exciting day, yes,” he said.
“We’ve just received approval of the City of Miami to build this facility. Now it’s on to the board of county commissioners,” which will be called on to OK the DERM plans related to SeaVault, said Mr. Meruelo.
The developer is shooting for LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, and the goal is to garner a silver rating. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.
The site on the south side of the river at 1583 NW 24th Ave. has been home to a working marina for decades, with some of the structures dating to the 1940s and ’50s.
The current plan shows slips for 14 mega-yachts: three 35-by-150-foot slips; two 43-by-200-foot slips; two 50-by-200-foot slips; two 50-by-230-foot slips; three 40-by-165-foot slips; and two 40-by-150-foot slips.
The developer says the project will bring to the Miami River the very sought-after mega-yacht industry, which has gravitated toward Broward and Palm Beach counties.
“I’m looking forward, finally, to having a major yachting facility in Miami. That has been lacking for so many years,” Mr. Meruelo said.
Sales have only just begun, but there’s plenty of interest in what SeaVault has to offer, he said.
“Our brokers are dealing right now with four very interested parties – four prominent vessels out there looking for a home here in Miami,” said Mr. Meruelo. Those yachts are in the 200-foot-long range, he said.
Architects working on a project say it is the first of its kind in the world – everything in one location for the owners of big boats.
“They belong on the Miami River, sheltered and closed, and in close proximity to all of Miami’s social life,’ Mr. Meruelo said of the all-in-one mega-yacht marina plan.
Success of the sales, he said, will determine the next steps.
“Obviously, that’s the catalyst to get this project under way,” he said.
The goal is to reach 50% sales (seven slips) by the end of 2015, he said. If that occurs, he said, the first steps of construction will start in the first quarter of 2016 – dredging and dismantling the existing marina.
Mr. Meruelo said if work begins then, he anticipates completion of SeaVault by the first quarter of 2017.
The only other venue planning to afford a place to keep the larger mega- and super-yachts is the deep harbor marina being built as part of Island Gardens on Watson Island.
Mr. Meruelo said he’s looking forward to the opening of the Island Gardens marina and sees it as “a conduit to what we are doing.” He views the island marina as transient and SeaVault as more permanent.
He said he does not see the island marina as competition. “On the contrary, we complement each other.”
“We may have a slip vacant and Watson Island has overflow, Watson can lease these slips, too. We’re not competing at all,” Mr. Meruelo said.
Flagstone Island Gardens LLC plans to build a resort destination on the island with dual hotels, fractional residential units, high-end retail stores and a deep water marina said to be designed for for up to 50 “super-yachts” of up to 550 feet.
The SeaVault project earned the support of the Miami River Commission in part because commissioners said it helps maintain the busy waterway as a working river, with active commercial marine uses.