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2017 Nov Dec Marina World

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TALKING SHOP The new marina administration building, designed by Richard Robb Architects, is due to be completed by 2020. further in future years. “The mooring fields between JWD and Gourock have around 80 boats and there are probably 200 in the area. All need to come ashore for winter so this is very good for the yard,” Jeff Houlgrave explains. “We have limited lifting capacity but still manage to lift about 90 boats during the winter for storage ashore. When we started out, the yard was primarily involved with this winter process but now it’s a working boatyard that’s also busy throughout the summer. We’ve actually taken on a new team member to help with the increased workload.” An essential element of long term plans, the boatyard will relocate to an interim site at the far side of the existing docks but will ultimately occupy a prime waterside location in the Great Harbour, where Marina Projects also plans to build an additional 200-berth marina. The new site has exceptional access and will have an extensive quayside and enhanced lifting equipment. “We’d like to have a pillar crane with, ideally, 30 ton lift,” Houlgrave muses. “But it depends on budgets.” The first priority is to construct a permanent waterfront administration building that will sit on the peninsula between the existing JWD marina and the proposed new marina in the Great Harbour. Designed by Richard Robb Architects of Gourock, the £1.25 million building, which currently awaits planning permission, will give the marina an improved operational office and new first class facilities for marina customers. A bespoke bistro café and three retail and office units have been incorporated in the design, all enjoying commanding views over JWD and conveniently located for ease of access by land and water. The design process, led by Marina Projects executive chairman Geoff Phillips, focused on a building design that meets the future needs of the marina while also acknowledging the local environment. The result is a modern concept, which uses carefully selected materials that reflect the architectural heritage of the historic docks. When the building design was announced in August, the investment was described as forming part of an ongoing and long term commitment by Marina Projects not only to the expansion and development of the JWD business but also to raising the profile of Greenock and Inverclyde within the marine leisure sector. This commitment also extends to the generation of local employment and, where possible, the engagement of regionally based professionals and contractor organisations as the development works progress. Phillips commented: “From the outset it was our stated intention to bring together a regionally based project team for the new marina administration building and I am pleased to say that in addition to Richard Robb Architects the project team includes Fairhurst (Glasgow), Allied Surveyors Scotland (Greenock) and Butler Consulting.” Construction of the building, due to be completed by 2020, will follow a rebuild (by the landlord) of the existing access road, largely on its existing footprint, and completes a major phase for redevelopment of the existing JWD framework. Next in line will be the Great Harbour marina and the final location for the boatyard. “Building the marina will be market led and it may be built in phases,” Houlgrave reveals. “In terms of timeline, if we’re now starting year two, we’d be looking to do this in years five to eight.” Attracting customers With 125 berths and 155 by close of year, JWD attracts a large range of boats and has a competitive edge in terms of pricing. “Our mooring fees are lower than some of the other large east shore marinas but I think we attract customers mostly because we take a very personal approach to customer service and word gets around about this,” says Galbraith. “For example, we have one customer who knows he can moor up and go out for the evening because the staff on night shift will happily walk his dogs for him.” “Little things like that are big deals,” adds Houlgrave. “And it’s very important to talk to people, and to talk to them about their boat. After all, it’s their pride and joy.” Most JWD berth holders are very local. “Sailboats dominate and are The historic sugar sheds currently offer useful storage but will be redeveloped to offer a mix of residential property and leisure outlets. - November/December 2017 23

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