Tucked away safely in a silent cove east of the Intracoastal Waterway lies a 97-slip marina that is propelling a boating-industry trend in northern Palm Beach County.
The Bluffs Marina, built in the mid-1980s by developers Berg & DiVosta, debuted as a “dockominium” in 1989, offering boaters the opportunity to buy their own slips. The concept has revolutionized the marina business by enabling individuals to have their own dock on the bay.
“We are Jupiter’s best-kept secret,” said Mark May, the new owner of CCB Investors Assets Management, a holding company that controls the remaining slip portfolio (75 in all). “But the word is getting out.”
The word has gotten out. Sales at the first-rate facility off Marcinski Road have soared since May took the helm earlier this year.
“In a very short period, we’ve had an incredible amount of response,” he said. “The real story is the fact we have sold slips – more this year than in the last four years combined.”
Three closings have taken place in 2012, and with more deals on the horizon, The Bluffs Marina is on a course into history over the next few years, May said.
“With more slips under contract, we are definitely setting records for 2012 in slip sales,” he said. “The fact is, people love boating, and people need a place to keep their boats.”
Boat slips, once one of the most attractive real-estate buys, fell out of favor with clients when the real-estate market bottomed out in 2005. Before the crash, the wet pieces of property commanded prices of a half-million dollars or more. Today, slips at The Bluffs Marina start at $168,000.
“They are selling for a fraction of what they were before,” May said. “Our pricing has been well-received and described by our buyers as real value in a top-quality product.”
The slips can accommodate vessels up to 176 feet in length in a 10-acre yacht basin. Every month, owners, captains and crew members receive an invitation to a dock party with food, drinks and live music.
May throws the parties to help unfurl the news about his dockominiums for sale.
“I’ve been a boater for 30 years, and I barely even knew about this place,” he said.
Seventy-five of the 97 slips await new owners. The remaining 22, with the exception of the new sales, have had long-term owners.
“It’s about longevity here,” Harbor Master Jacqueline Carpinella said. “I’ve been here 10 years. They’ve been here longer.”