Construction of Gulfport’s new marina facility is humming along, with the overall shell completed and focus now turning to the painting and the interior.
“We’re probably 85 to 87 percent done,” Harbormaster Denis Frain said Friday, June 17. “It’s slated to be completed in late August. Everything has gone according to plan.” Construction began in January.
The two-story, 3,000-sq.-ft. structure, built high above the flood plain, includes the harbormaster’s office, and a lounge, bathrooms, showers and observation area for overnight patrons.
The open area below will be used by tour-boat guests waiting for their charters and for a small shop for marina workers.
Meanwhile, the old one-story building that currently doubles as retail and administrative space will be renovated into a 1,000-sq.-ft. store with higher ceilings, and new counters and floors. The two buildings will be connected with a covered walkway.
Frain dismissed rumors that the new complex might include an eatery.
“Right now we’re relying on our downtown restaurants to fill the needs of our marina guests,” he said.
Tisdale Construction Inc. of Gulfport won the bid for the project, which will cost $680,000, Frain said.
“We got lucky that it’s a Gulfport construction company,” he said.
The original proposal for the building, which had a Key West style, had to be scaled down considerably when the bids came in $400,000 over budget. The current facility is about 1,000 square feet smaller.
“We went back and value-engineered it,” Frain said. While the building looks like “a square box,” he said he was happy it came in on budget so construction could proceed. Frain said he hoped to soften the boxy appearance with landscaping and signage.
Up next in terms of marina improvements? Frain hopes work will start this fall on replacing the marina’s aging system to pump out sewage from visiting vessels at a cost of $66,000.
Also slated for fiscal year 2016-2017 is a shady park to the west of the new marina facility where overnight patrons can barbecue and relax along the waterfront, he said. The park will be built by city employees at a cost of $40,000 in an area 40 feet wide by 100 feet long that’s currently used for trailer parking, he said. Finally, the parking lot will be paved.
In a related matter, work near the marina to build two retention ponds to treat storm water run-off from 49th Street South is slated to start in about six weeks. The work will be done by Largo-based Caladesi Construction Co., Frain said.