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Thirty Subs Join Team at JupiterPointe Marina

Wed June 04, 2008 - Southeast Edition
Jeff Brooks

Tiger Woods soon will have another option when it comes to docking his luxury yacht.

Woods lives on Jupiter Island, a little known 17-mi. (27 km) long island located off Florida’s east coast just north of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. It is considered one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States with median home prices around $5.6 million. The island ranks second on the Forbes list of highest-income places in the country and Woods’ neighbors include fellow golfers Greg Norman, Nick Price and Gary Player; singers Celine Dion and Alan Jackson; Richard Lerner, president and CEO of The Scripps Research Institute; and Richard S. Fuld Jr., chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Sound like a good location for a new members-only marina? Robert and Myron Miller, owners of Main Street, a West Palm Beach-based developer that has done more than $3 billion in projects in Florida, including retail shopping centers, a $160 million equine community in Ocala and a resort in Orlando, think so.

Main Street’s latest venture is the $150 million JupiterPointe Club & Marina, which started construction in March at the site of the old Seagate Marina, a mile north of Jupiter Inlet in Tequesta.

Scheduled for completion in spring 2009, JupiterPointe will offer a 10-acre (4 ha) complex with accommodations for 250 to 300 boats. There also will be indoor dry-stack boat slips, a 6,000-sq.-ft. (560 sq m) clubhouse, swimming pool, waterfront gourmet dining and a tiki bar.

Currently, crews are demolishing older structures and building a new seawall, according to Elliott Johnson, JupiterPointe project manager.

“There’s an operating marina here so we’re doing it in phases,” Johnson said. “One of the boat barns that previously occupied the space is still here and we’ve got about 160,000 sq. ft. of boat storage that’s going to be built. We have demolished about half the property.

“Right now we’re engaged in rebuilding the seawall and getting the marina up to speed so we can move operations smoothly from the old boat barn to the new boat barn when we’re finished with that.”

Though working next to water can be tricky, Johnson said all is going well so far.

“We’re not encumbered by anything extraordinary,” Johnson said. “Because we’re next to the water we’ve been working with the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection], state and local environmental agencies. The basin of the marina is wholly owned by the owners of the property, Rob and Myron Miller. They’re lucky enough that the actual basin is owned by them. They own the dirt under the water.”

Though early in the project, Johnson said there is a full contingent of equipment on site, including an assortment of cranes, trackhoes, loaders, a track auger pile, sheet piles and concrete pile caps with a concrete panel facing and rip rock. Johnson said they’re using a rock crusher so they can recycle most of the demolished concrete.

Johnson said there is one specialty piece of equipment he’d like to use even though it won’t be doing any of the heavy lifting.

“The owners have a helicopter and we’re hoping he’ll let us use that,” Johnson said. “It’ll make the commute a little easier.”

Because Main Street is providing construction management, most of the equipment is leased or belongs to the subcontractors. Johnson said during the course of the job, approximately 30 subcontractors will be on site, including Palm Beach Marine Construction, which is doing the seawall; TA, which is handling the demolition; civil engineers Southern Design Group; Gentile, Holloway & Mahoney, which is doing the site plan; and Lang Architectural Group.

Considering Jupiter Island’s long history with wealth — in 1715 the Spanish Plata Fleet wrecked off the coast, spilling tons of silver and gold coins, which are still found today beneath the island’s sand — has Johnson unearthed any treasures?

“The only thing we’ve dug up so far on this job is the people we work with,” Johnson said. “It’s a great team of people. It’s been a pleasure so far. It’s like a vacation every day instead of a job.”

From his second floor construction office with priceless views of the Atlantic Ocean, Johnson might think he’s on vacation every day, but that’s not impacting the work schedule.

“I probably have the nicest view of any office in South Florida,” Johnson said. “The water is a beautiful, crystal turquoise. It just makes us more motivated.”

That motivation must be working. The project is ahead of schedule and they’re looking forward to starting the next phase.

“We’re wrapping the design and continuing the seawall,” Johnson said. “Then we’ll start building the apron adjacent to the seawall. We’d like to build the two boat barns, pool and cabana first. We’re also looking at several restaurants — local restaurants; Jupiter has a lot of good ones.”

Johnson said they’ll be using about 150,000 cu. yd. (115,000 cu m) of dirt and 27,000 cu. yd. (20,600 cu m) of concrete. They plan to recycle about 30,000 cu. yd. (22,900 cu m) of concrete. Most of the building will be built using steel. Currently, there are about 50 workers on site and that number will double as work progresses. They work a daytime shift and because of the location, local traffic, marine or otherwise, is not impacted by construction.

Johnson said there’s been a positive response from the community and many believe JupiterPointe will trigger additional development in the area.

“Judging from the response of the community, I think it will be good,” Johnson said. “We get several calls a day from people who are excited to see the project get under way. The concept they’re doing here with boat condos is cool. I know it’s worked down south and I expect it’ll work here. If you have a nice boat there’s only a small number of places to keep it. I think the guy who owns the property next door is pretty happy. We hope it will lead to other development in the area.”

But the big question is, will Tiger call JupiterPointe home?

“We saw Tiger’s boat down the road at one of the other marinas,” Johnson said. “He might, but we haven’t talked to him. A lot of big names live here. We could put their boats up here.” CEG

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