Derecktor says progress being made at Port of Fort Pierce
FORT PIERCE – Derecktor has announced key milestones achieved in the development of its new Fort Pierce shipyard.
Despite a global pandemic and the slow pace of government permitting, Derecktor has been moving forward with the transformation of the one-hundred-year-old Port of Fort Pierce and aging Indian River Terminal into a modern facility capable of servicing the world’s largest yachts. The facility, which hadn’t had any major infrastructure upgrades in more than two decades, required substantial cleaning and debris removal and is being brought up to current fire and safety code. Improvements have been ongoing ahead of any technical trade work being carried out.
“The Port of Fort Pierce is the ideal location for America’s next great shipyard. The Fort Pierce Inlet is the widest, deepest, and most navigable inlet between Port Canaveral and Port Everglades. Deep water access, no overhead obstructions and a generous turning basin provide ample clearance and maneuverability for the global fleet of mega-yachts and large sailing yachts,” explained Justin Beard, Marketing Manager for Derecktor.
In addition to these natural features, Derecktor Fort Pierce will be home to a 1,500-ton mobile boat hoist – the largest of its kind in the U.S. – capable of lifting vessels up to 250 feet in length out of the water and gently placing them on the concrete pier for maintenance, repair or refit. The hoist is being built by Cimolai Technology in northern Italy at a cost of $6.5 million. Despite navigating one of the most challenging health and economic crises in modern history, the construction of this massive machine is nearing completion and is still on schedule for delivery by the end of the year.
As the project transitions from approvals and permitting into the pre-construction phase, Derecktor has remained in compliance with its lease agreement and made its first rent payment to St. Lucie County on Sept. 1. The payment also included the franchise fee Derecktor had already been paying since November 2019, bringing the payment to the county to about $122,000 a month.
Derecktor has also agreed to provide funds to meet St. Lucie County’s matching grant requirement with the State of Florida’s Department of Transportation for two seaport grants totaling nearly $1 million. The north bulkhead 70-plus-year-old aging infrastructure will be replaced, and the south dock area will receive major upgrades to potable water, electric, fire suppression system and fiber optics.
“Derecktor is contributing approximately $648,000 towards these important rehabilitation projects at the Port’s north bulkhead area and the south dock area,” Beard said. “This infusion of private money into these necessary repairs to a public facility is essentially saving St. Lucie County taxpayers more than half a million dollars.”
Hauling operations at Derecktor Fort Pierce are expected to begin in early 2021. The rehabilitated shipyard and new mobile boat hoist will instantly position Fort Pierce and St Lucie County as a desirable option for the global megayacht and large sailing yacht fleets and to successfully serve new U.S. and international markets.
“Derecktor played a central role in helping establish Fort Lauderdale as the ‘Yachting Capitol of the World’ decades ago,’’ said Beard. "Now it’s Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County’s turn.''
Founded in 1947, Derecktor Shipyards is a worldwide leader in the construction, repair and refit of yachts, commercial and military vessels. Derecktor facilities span the eastern seaboard of the U.S. from Maine to South Florida, offering vessel owners and operators everything from marina space to megayacht construction.
— SPONSORED CONTENT — New Program Offers Space for Veterans and First Responders
VERO BEACH – With the help of a grant from Gold Star Mothers, the MHA is pleased to announce the successful implementation of a new program for veterans and first responders. The program, which starts on September 23rd, opens up the Vero Beach Drop-In Center after-hours every Wednesday from 6-8pm as a meeting place. Jim Ranahan, a retired Navy Veteran, will host. Jim’s civilian life included working as Boston Firefighter and, later, as a social worker at the MHA.
“When Gold Star Mothers made us one of the beneficiaries of their suicide awareness walk last year, it could not have come at a better time as we had been in the early stages of forming this program and were unsure exactly how we were going to pay for it.” said Dr. Nicholas Coppola, CEO of the Mental Health Association. ”Of course, COVID put the brakes on the program’s launch for a while but we’re excited to finally be able to give back to our vets and first responders.”
Snacks and refreshments will be provided so stop by, say hi, socialize, and swap stories with Jim and other military folks.
2183 Ponce de Leon Circle, Vero Beach, FL 32960, 772.778.4444 or 772.569.9788
— SPONSORED CONTENT — Vero Beach restaurants emerging strong
It is hard to debate that COVID-19 has had more of an impact on the hospitality and tourism industry than any other, but Vero Beach has experienced varying degrees of impact to the local restaurant scene. While bars have undoubtedly taken the biggest hit being closed, restaurants have all seen ups and downs depending on location, amount of seating and word of mouth. In my interactions with local restaurant operators, a few trends have emerged. While everyone expected outdoor seating to drive business, independent restaurants have performed extremely well as locals have done a phenomenal job of supporting local businesses. Reservations have filled up, snowbirds have stayed down South throughout the summer and average check and spend per guest has only increased across the board. Vero Beach, and other smaller vacation markets, have seen the fastest rebound in the food and beverage industry.
At the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, our two restaurants, Heaton’s Vero Beach and Cobalt, have been having one of our strongest summers ever, which we are attributing to a variety of factors. First and foremost, we have made the safety of employees and guests our number one priority, ahead of anything else. While we were allowed to open May 4th by the State of Florida, we waited until May 8th and took the first 4 days to put a new “Clean Promise” into place, deep clean, re-train our staff and focus on new safety guidelines. As a corporate business, we had the additional resources to spend the money up front to ensure that we had the proper tools in place for our team and the proper set-up in our restaurant. We leveraged the large amount of beachfront outdoor seating at both restaurants, increased it and followed all National Restaurant Association guidelines on service, flatware, glassware and personal protective equipment to make our guests feel comfortable, yet as normal as possible. As a result, we had a record July and August in covers and revenue at both restaurants with average guest spend up dramatically from pre-COVID. Our guests were ready to get out, ready to feel a sense of normality, and ready to enjoy a cocktail or two or three or four.
Amongst the other beachside restaurants in Vero Beach, the results seem to be similar. While many of our neighboring restaurants lost a good amount of indoor seating, outdoor seating has remained extremely popular, and full. The rebound has happened much faster in Vero Beach compared to any other major Florida cities or markets. Guests have been understanding, patient and once they find an establishment where they feel comfortable, loyal. Customer loyalty has been one of the driving factors in keeping doors open and the trust that the customers have had in their favorite restaurants is what’s been keeping the local industry alive.
The last step is events, festivals, markets and bars. As operators, we’ve learned how to navigate COVID and ensure the safety our guests within the guidelines provided, but what is the evolution of that? When will we able to host a cookout, or luau, or New Year’s Eve party? What is acceptable, what is safe and what isn’t? As we ponder all of these events and festivals with safety in mind, that is the real question. At the end of the day, if we can’t execute everything safely, then it isn’t worth doing it at all. Our guests and customers have put their trust into their local establishments, and we owe it to them to do the right thing, no matter the cost. One day soon, we’ll all celebrate normality, clinking glasses to toast and enjoying a family style meal. Until then, here’s to safety, great cocktails and dining out, cheers.
— BY MARCO FANELLI
Marco Fanelli is the director of food and beverage at the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, located at 3500 Ocean Drive in Vero Beach, overseeing Cobalt, Heaton’s Vero Beach and banquet operations. For more information, visit www.cobaltrestaurant.com or www.HeatonsVeroBeach.com.
2020 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy nominees
MARTIN/ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Two outstanding Treasure Coast kids will be recognized for their philanthropy efforts throughout the month of November for National Philanthropy Day, a multi-week celebration honoring volunteers in this community.
Palm City resident, 11-year-old Lilly Freese, was nominated by Hibiscus Children’s Center, an organization that provides a safe haven to children removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. Hibiscus Children’s Center is just one of many charities Lilly is involved with. This 6th grader has been baking and helping her mom in the kitchen since she could stand on a stool. She combined her culinary talent with her passion to help others to start her own business and donate the proceeds to local charities. “I’m a kid trying to make the world a better place one sweet treat at a time!”
The second nominee, nine-year-old Molly Grow, is truly an environmental steward. A long-time member of the Keep Port St. Lucie Beautiful Adopt-a-Street Program, Molly picks up litter on three different streets once a month. Her mom and nominator, Jenny Tomes, Utility Marketing Coordinator for the City of Port St. Lucie, first introduced Molly to volunteerism and she has grown to love it. Molly is also passionate about recycling and water conservation. “I hope I inspire people to help keep our city clean.”
In addition to Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) will also be recognizing nominees in the following categories: Individual Philanthropist, Volunteer Fundraiser, Corporate Philanthropist, Group or Foundation Supporting Philanthropy, Unsung Hero, Legacy Award and The President’s Award.
National Philanthropy Day is celebrated in more than 500 locations across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Treasure Coast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals has hosted its National Philanthropy Day celebration since 1995. Since its inception, nearly 200 outstanding groups and individuals from the Treasure Coast have joined the elite group of recipients. This year we will virtually celebrate those in Martin and St. Lucie Counties whose contributions make a significant impact in our community.
Special thanks to this year’s Celebration Sponsors: The Community Foundation Martin – St. Lucie, PNC Bank, United Way of Martin County, United Way of St. Lucie County, as well as Nonprofit Celebration Supporters, Children’s Home Society, Hibiscus Children’s Center, Treasure Coast Hospice, Tykes & Teens, and Volunteers in Medicine Clinic.
For information about the 2020 National Philanthropy Day celebration, the nomination process or sponsorship opportunities, please contact NPD Chair Samantha Ramlall at 772-342-5091 or [email protected].
The 8th Annual Bird & Nature Art Show to benefit Pelican Island Conservation Society is Oct 9-11th at the Sebastian River Art Club. This show is done each year during National Refuge Week. About 50 artists will be represented in a variety of work with a reception Friday 6-8 p.m. and show Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-4 p.m.
Our judges this year include Mark Wygonik and Barb Schlitt-Ford.
The public will be allowed in if wearing masks.
Floyd Markowitz — 1st place 3D winner 2019
Remember Treasure Coast nonprofits
If you are in a position, consider a gift to a Treasure Coast nonprofit affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Find the needs of many area nonprofits and how to give at treasurecoastnonprofits.com
As a service to readers and restaurants on the Treasure Coast, Indian River Magazine Inc. has created a website directory of restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries in St. Lucie, Indian River and Martin counties. The site includes hours of operation, if carryout/delivery is available, as well as popular dishes. See the site at treasurecoastrestaurants.com
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• In Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie contact Lisa Crawford at [email protected] or 516.721.0848.
• In Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach and Hobe Sound contact Marsha Lange at [email protected]