Jacksonville Business Journal - by Christian Conte Staff Writer
DAMES POINT — When Bill Shafnacker started looking for a place to dock his four boats, he wasn’t considering a development project, but now he has one less than a mile away from where two Asian shipping lines will have container terminals.
The managing partner of Dames Point Holdings LLC plans to start construction in the first quarter of 2009 on a $6.5 million project that includes 34 wet slips, dry stack boat storage and an 18,000-square-foot building with space for a restaurant and eight condominiums. Dames Point Marina is expected to attract mostly fishermen and those working at the port.
The slowing economy hasn’t yet impacted the 3.4-acre project, which has been six years in the making, Shafnacker said.
“If I was building 300 condos, I’d be a nervous individual,” he said. “I wouldn’t have even done it.”
The condos will range from 754 square feet to 890 square feet and will start at $320,000. Three are already reserved with a down payment. Among those already reserved is one for Lisandro Rosales, who intends to use the condo as a vacation home for when he and his father go fishing.
Rosales said he decided to buy the unit because of its easy access to both the St. Johns River and the ocean. He was also impressed with Shafnacker’s dream to make the area a fishing destination.
“He’s motivated to make this project work,” Rosales said. “The energy that he’s putting out has really gotten me fired up.”
Shafnacker expects the 4,052-square-foot restaurant to appeal not only to fishermen, but also to employees at Asian shipping companies Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. and Hanjin Shipping Company Ltd., which will open container terminals on the west side of Dames Point. The building will also include a small boating supply store and a bar and kitchen.
Amenities at the Dames Point Marina will include floating docks, a fuel dock, pump-out facilities, showers, laundry facilities and a swimming pool.
Shafnacker has paid for the site work that has already started with his own cash, but intends to get a construction loan to fund the rest of the project.
He also owns a site work development company in Brookers, near Gainesville, called WCC Site Development Inc. Dames Point Marina is his first vertical construction project, but he is already looking for an opportunity to work on another similar project, preferably a marina in need of rehabilitation.
Market analyst J. Chris Parker said that although temporary housing might be a better use for that site, the marina
will likely be in high demand because of the privatization of other marinas and a moratorium on new marina permits.
“Marina slips are a strong incentive for attracting consumers to other facilities like a restaurant and marine supplies,” said Parker, a vice president at the Jacksonville real estate development and marketing consultation firm Parker Associates. “They can also be an incentive for selling or leasing limited numbers of adjacent dwellings.”