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September October 2019 Marina World

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The Magazine for the marina industry


PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANCY Integrating land and water is key to success A marina is a highly individual type of property/real estate. Any operator in tune with landside opportunities as well as the water-based infrastructure - who applies a top level of service to each - will maximise financial returns and have happier customers. The separately branded F3 Marina division of real estate brokerage and management company, Founders 3, takes a crossmarket approach to its core business of third party marina management and its ownership and part-ownership portfolio. “We are good on the management side because of our experience in the world of real estate – we bring the real estate management concepts to marinas,” explains F3 Marina CEO David Behnke. “And we like to work with someone we can establish a long term relationship with. We look for clients who appreciate the value we bring them as we want to establish high-end successful marinas,” he adds. The F3 team believes its landside expertise sets it apart from other professional management companies. “We were experts on land before we dipped our toes into the water. Marinas are an asset class that’s very similar to property, and the way to make marinas profitable is very similar,” F3 president John Matheson observes. “All the expertise for shoreside elements – residential, commercial etc – in our company is unique,” adds senior vice president Alain Giudice. The future for marinas lies in mixeduse development, Behnke believes, where integration of marina, retail and residential makes the best use of waterfront land and eliminates physical barriers to the water. “We need to think open spaces, linking [schemes], good traffic flow, integration,” he says. “One of our strengths is that we cross-market between the marina, shops etc. We integrate everything.” First impressions are also important. “The access drive to the marina needs attention,” Matheson asserts. “Security has to be covered but we must have balanced access so that the marina doesn’t look confining. This can be an issue for private marinas but we understand how to integrate the upland property well. A marina that integrates well with upland development from the general public perspective is important to make the entire waterfront mixed use development work.” Market reach F3 Marina owns marinas and drystacks, manages marinas as a third party, and provides consultancy services on how to run marina facilities – “we assist in making them more sound,” says Behnke. Ideally, the company works with developers from day one through to completion and the team is equally at ease when working with inland, coastal, private or municipal marinas – with wet slips, drystack or a mix. It is also looking to broaden its scope geographically. “We are looking globally but we have to be very selective. The opportunity is there as good new marinas are being developed,” Matheson explains. “One region in our focus is South America. It’s a growing market for big boats, outside the hurricane belt and there aren’t enough slips. We have a couple of clients in this region and we’re looking to expand.” Changing focus Liveaboards? Static charter? Ageing boaters? Destination appeal? All are challenges that F3 Marina takes into consideration when driving a marina business forward. Titusville Marina (above) is a 194-slip full service facility located between Orlando and Daytona in east central Florida. Port of Rochester (right), has many amenities and a large event space. Both are professionally managed by F3 Marina. - September/October 2019 31

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