Key West’s housing crisis gets a lot of attention these days, but there’s another shortage that some people feel a little awkward complaining about, given the severity of the housing situation and its threat to the island’s workforce.
For the past few years, there’s been a significant shortage of boat storage space in Key West, both in and out of the water, with some boaters forced to keep their vessels as far north as Big Pine or even Marathon.
That’s about to change.
Happy Landings Marina is set to open 75 brand new wet slips at its new facility, located at 2409 N. Roosevelt Blvd., behind the Lions Club building. The underused waterfront property, down the driveway past the Lions Club building, across the boulevard from the Fairfield Inn & Suites, is being transformed for the Key West boating community.
“Happy Landings Marina will cater to the residents and locals of Key West,” said Sam Napp and Daniel Robles, principals of Happy Landings Marina. “The goal is to lease all 75 slips on a long-term basis for those interested in a secure and prime location along North Roosevelt Boulevard. Boaters will have 24/7 access to their vessels with the ability to keep boats out of the water through our boat lift rental program. While there will be limited transient dockage, we are working on obtaining the necessary approvals to accommodate up to seven charter boats.”
The new marina will be able to accommodate 68 boat lifts with a starting capacity to lift 16,000 pounds that will be owned by the marina and installed based on customer demand and preferences, and then leased to the tenants of the slips, Napp and Robles told the Keys Weekly.
The locally owned Keystar Construction is building the docks, utilities and amenities, which are expected to be finished in August, with leasing to begin this September. Phase II of the project will include the complete redevelopment of the upland building that formerly housed the medical practice of Dr. Richard Walker. The building and landscaping should be finished by summer 2024, Napp and Robles said.
“Phase I will deliver dockside utilities, including shore power (30-amp electrical service), freshwater spigots for each customer and a centralized pump-out station. Other marina amenities include comprehensive surveillance systems, 24/7 gated access, a commercial ice machine, and a fish-cleaning station. To supplement that, we are also exploring a weigh station that’s certified by the International Game Fish Association.”
Finally, as an add-on service to marina tenants, Happy Landings staff will facilitate routine vessel maintenance, including washdowns, engine flushing, electronic checks and more.
“We are also planning to roll out a concierge service to stock and provision boaters’ vessels with ice, refreshments and food in advance of launching,” the principals said.
Phase II, the upland portion of the project, will include a boater lounge, restrooms, showers, marine-grade locker storage large enough to accommodate fishing and dive gear and a waterfront grilling area.
“Key West is facing a significant shortage of boat storage space,” Napp and Robles said. “Our marina aims to alleviate the supply issue for a large segment of the market and provide a spectacular boating experience for the community. While our 75 slips may not solve the entire problem, they are designed to cater to boaters in the 25- to 40-foot segment who have seen the most pressure over the last several years. It is worth noting that many of the newer marinas are in Stock Island and primarily cater to larger vessels and transient boaters.
“Happy Landings is poised to become Key West’s first boat lift-centric marina. This unique characteristic will provide boaters with unrestricted access to the open water by eliminating the need to rely on forklift drivers and standard business hours at other marinas’ haul out slips. We understand that Key West has been a seafaring community for well over 200 years, consisting of those who prefer early departures and flexibility when the conditions are right or when the bite is on.”
The boat lift leases will ensure that vessels are out of the corrosive saltwater, thus reducing the annual repair and maintenance costs while enhancing the boat’s longevity and resale value.
“The essence of the Happy Landings Marina experience lies within our carefully curated amenities and the strong sense of community we aim to cultivate through events and programming,” Napp and Robles said. “It’s through these elements that we seek to provide a unique and fulfilling experience for our customers.”
More information is available at www.happylandingsmarina.com.