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Our Town with William Kelly: Revamped Town Marina on target for Nov. 1 opening

After 16 months of construction, the town is approaching completion of its all-new, $38 million marina.

The cutting-edge facilities are on track for a Nov. 1 opening, Assistant Town Manager Carolyn Stone said Friday.

Construction will fall within the $38 million project budget, Stone said. Improvements to adjacent Lake Drive Park will bring the total cost of improvements to around $40 million.

“It is gratifying to bring to life the Town Council’s vision for a world class yacht center in the heart of Palm Beach,” Stone said. “This project has been years in the making and thanks to a great partnership with our contractors and consultants we are putting the finishing touches on a plan that works in harmony with the town’s ethos, style and quality of life.”

The marina upgrade includes the expansion of the marina’s 84 slips to accommodate larger boats and replacement of the old stationary docks with floating ones. There also will be a new security system and upgraded technology with high-speed Wi-Fi and enhanced shore power.

A new 250-foot Palm Way Dock at the north end of the marina has been built alongside the new Australian, Brazilian and Peruvian docks.

“We are down to the last two months [and are] wrapping things up,” Marc Kleisley, with project manager Burkhardt Construction, said during a virtual update Friday. Murray Logan Construction is the lead contractor.

The floating docks have been installed and the new bulkhead between the Lake Worth Lagoon and the park has been built, Kleisley said.

The new section of the Lake Trail adjacent to the marina is mostly reconstructed and is being surfaced with stone pavers.

Tile was recently installed on the roofs of the buildings posted at entrances to the Brazilian, Australian and Peruvian docks. They are now undergoing trim work and painting, Kleisley said.

Water main work is complete and tied into the water system. Electrical service should be ready for activation in about two weeks, he said.

Landscaping and an irrigation system are being installed in the park. The parking lot and driveway will be surfaced in the coming weeks, he said.

Coconut palms are being planted along the sidewalk on the western corridor of South Lake Drive and along the Lake Trail.
Improvements to South Lake Drive are also moving toward completion.

Curb bump outs at the Brazilian and Australian avenue intersections are built. Crosswalks will soon be installed.
Road construction with traffic detours will continue in the work zone on South Lake Drive.

“This week you may see more rerouting of traffic because of work at the Peruvian intersection,” Kleisley said. “Detours will be created to get residents in and out of their homes.”

After the end of next week, the normal traffic flow will be restored on South Lake Drive, he said.

Traffic impacts and detour information is posted on the town website.

Stone said marketing is going well for the marina, which was featured in an Aug. 8 article on Seasonal leases have been issued to customers with a good response rate, and annual leases will be going out soon, she said.

The town has collected deposits on 69 of the 84 slips, she said. She estimated occupancy would initially be in the 75 to 80 percent range.

The new marina will have four full-time staff members, which is one more than it did previously. Those include Dockmaster Mike Horn, and an assistant dockmaster, administrative assistant and facilities maintenance position. The town also uses contractual workers for some tasks.

“In addition to hiring and training staff, we are working on [obtaining] the furniture and equipment and external pieces that need to come in,” Stone said.

The final construction update is set for Oct. 8. Stone said she expects to announce by then the date for a ribbon-cutting ceremony sometime in December.

The marina has been closed since construction began in May 2020. It was built in the 1940s and was last upgraded in 1998.