Viking developer presents
revamp of Riviera Marina

RIVIERA BEACH The real estate division of Viking Yacht Co. wants to transform the Riviera Beach Marina and surrounding property into a place of boating, dining, shopping, waterfront entertainment, offices and a hotel.

Viking owns much of the property along the city's waterfront and ended a 2.5-year redevelopment proposal with the city in March because of changes in eminent domain laws.
 

Riviera Beach Marina redevelopment proposal

The plan: Viking Developers LLC is proposing a major overhaul of the city marina, Bicentennial Park and the surrounding area, dubbed International Harbor at Riviera Beach.

Terms: A mix of public and private money could be used to pay for the construction. Viking is asking for tax-increment financing to pay for parts of the project including roads, parking garages and marina improvements. Viking would lease the marina from the city for 50 years.

Jobs: Viking consultants estimate 400 construction jobs and 500 full-time jobs would be created by the redevelopment.

Presentation: Viking Developers will present the proposal to the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday city hall.

Read the plan: A copy of the Viking marina proposal is on file at the Riviera Beach Library, 600 W. Blue Heron Blvd.

 

Last week, Viking Developers LLC was the only company to respond to the community redevelopment agency's request for proposals to lease and overhaul the city marina and develop neighboring properties.

"We're very optimistic this time we won't have a short circuit," said Michael Clark, president of Viking Associates, the real-estate division of the New Gretna, N.J.-based yacht company. "It's time the people of Riviera Beach see some redevelopment happening."

On Wednesday night, Clark and others will present a $500 million redevelopment proposal for what Viking is calling International Harbor at Riviera Beach to the city council, sitting as the CRA.

Highlights of Viking's plan include:

 

  • Rebuilding Bicentennial Park just north of the marina, including an amphitheater, landscaping, lighting and on-street parking.

     

  • Revamping the city marina to include 162 in-water slips, from their current 150, to accommodate boats up to 100 feet. The marina would have high-speed fuel and waste pump-out systems. Indoor boat storage would increase slightly to handle 350 boats up to 40 feet in length. Viking proposes three high-capacity forklifts for boat launching.

     

  • A Harbor Village including a refurbished Newcomb Hall, four buildings for retail stores, space for several restaurants and pedestrian walkways.

     

  • A parking garage for 608 cars combined with a swimming pool and a five-level office building. Mid-level lofts would encircle the parking garage.

     

  • A hotel and conference center planned on the old Spanish Courts property.

     

  • A public market along west of Broadway along 13th Street.

    The Viking plan calls for a "modified Key West" style with stucco-and-wood buildings accented with concrete and natural stone. Building heights would be staggered, with two-story buildings in the Harbor Village shopping area rising to the four-story parking garage to the south.

    The design incorporates many of the elements that Riviera Beach citizens asked for during a planning workshop on the Marina District held last fall with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Rivera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo said.

    "I'm really happy that Viking listened to the public," Pardo said. "If the city makes money on (the redeveloped marina), I think it will be a win-win for everyone."

    Pardo said maintaining public access to the marina and Bicentennial Park are essential.

    "We've made it clear all along that the marina belongs to every citizen and that public access must be maintained," Pardo said.

    If the CRA approves the plan in concept Wednesday, the CRA will negotiate with Viking in hopes of producing a development contract by late November.

    Financing is expected to generate much discussion in the negotiations. Viking hopes to use some $30 million in tax-increment financing, through which bonds used for construction are paid off with the expected increase in property tax generated by the new construction.

    Because of a pending Florida Supreme Court decision on whether tax-increment financing requires prior voter approval, the use of that type of financing might not be suitable for the marina redevelopment, Riviera Beach CRA Executive Director Floyd Johnson said.

    "All of these issues will play out when we sit down to the table to negotiate," Johnson said.


  •               

    Viking Developers picked to move forward with Riviera Beach marina plans

    RIVIERA BEACH City officials decided Wednesday to negotiate with Viking Developers LLC in hopes of spawning a $500 million redevelopment of the city marina and surrounding property.

    The city council, sitting as the community redevelopment agency, voted 5-0 to work with the real estate arm of the Viking Yacht Co., the only company that submitted a response to the CRA's request for marina redevelopment proposals by the Sept. 2 deadline.

    Negotiations with Viking began today and are expected to continue until Nov. 26, when the company hopes to ink a development contract with the city.

    Plans for what Viking has dubbed International Harbor at Riviera Beach include enhancing Bicentennial Park with an amphitheater, lighting and on-street parking, rebuilding the marina and Newcomb Hall, adding a 608-car parking garage and office building and creating Harbor Village - stores, restaurants and walkways in the marina complex.

    A public market is planned west of Broadway along 13th Street. The second phase calls for adding a hotel and conference center on the old Spanish Courts property south of the marina.

    Big questions remain on how the project will be financed.

    "We have to determine how much public money they're asking for and how much they're willing to put into the deal," Councilman Shelby Lowe said.

    Viking wants to tap millions in CRA money obtained through tax-increment financing.

    CRA Director Floyd Johnson said it's too early to determine whether CRA money could be used to finance the marina redevelopment.

    "It's a proposal," Johnson said. "Obviously, the devil is in the details."

    New Gretna, N.J.-based Viking operates yacht rigging and repair operations in Riviera Beach and has substantial real estate holdings near the city's waterfront. The CRA ended an earlier proposal to rebuild 400 acres of blighted waterfront property through a contract with Viking in March because of changes in eminent domain laws.