Derecktor adds second dry dock to port plans

Derecktor shipyards plans to bring a 3,500-ton dry dock to the Port of Fort Pierce this fall so the company can accelerate the opening of a long-awaited mega-yacht service center.

The addition of a second dry dock is one of the major changes to the Derecktor’s plans for the 12-acre Indian River Terminal property.

Derecktor also decided to place a state-of-the-art mobile ship lift further from the neighboring Fort Pierce Yacht and Ship property to avoid encroachments, county records show.

St. Lucie County commissioners voted unanimously on July 2 to approve the updates to Derecktor’s conceptual site plans.

“What that’s going to do is spur job creation that much quicker,” county Air and Seaport Executive Director Stan Payne told the commissioners about the updated plans. “Derecktor has vessels ready to come now and this fall. Everyone is ready, chomping at the bit to get this done.”

Derecktor officials have said the company expects to employ more than 100 workers once the new facilities are fully operational in about two years.

Derecktor signed a 30-year lease in April on the terminal property that will pay the county at last $1.35 million per year, county records show. The money will cover the debt service on the loan the county took out to buy the terminal property in January 2018.

As Derecktor officials learned more about the property, they amended the conceptual plan submitted to the county on Aug. 22, 2018, as part of the competitive bidding process for the terminal lease, Payne said. “Things have changed quite frankly over the last two days, over the last week, over the last couple of weeks, but I can say that they changed for the better,” Payne told the commissioners.

“The new plan is to bring a dry dock in as early as this fall to legitimately start those operations while the ship lift is being designed and the piers are being constructed,” Payne said.

“And then, based on the market later on in the year, likely toward the spring, should the market warrant it, to bring in an even bigger dry dock,” Payne said.

Yachts will float into the 3,500- and 5,000-ton dry docks, which will then be drained to allow maintenance and repairs to be done to the ships on dry land.

Demolition started last month on the 62,480-square-foot terminal building at 101 Port Avenue A and is expected to be completed in August, Payne said.

County and Derecktor officials are working together to apply for more grants to help pay for improvements to the pier, Payne said. The county recently received a $313,000 state grant for the project.

The service center is being designed to handle mega-yachts more than 180 feet long, Derecktor officials have said. There are 1,500 to 2,000 vessels that large worldwide.

“I’m excited that we continue to better the plan,” said Commission Chairwoman Linda Bartz. “We are not trying to bring ships in just to show. We are working hard, we are doing it right and this is going to be a world-class operation.”

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