New Storage Facility Could Increase Tourism

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Local boaters are celebrated the groundbreaking of the area's largest dry storage facility unit today.

Project investors say the timing for the facility's construction has never been better.

Boating industry professionals say things are finally looking up for the marine business.

Legendary Marina Managing Director Fred Pace says, "Four out of the past five years haven't been great for the marine industry. It's not been a lot of fun. But we really think things have come back and stabilized and what this building means is that there is a greater demand today for boats to be stored."

Friday morning's groundbreaking marks an important day for Northwest Florida.

The 65 foot tall, 125,000 square foot building is being constructed at the Pirates Cove Marina in Panama City Beach.

When it's completed, it will house up to 450 large scale boats, up to 45 feet long.

It's the largest dry storage facility under construction anywhere in the country.

Half Hitch Tackle Owner Tom Putnam says, "I don't think there's any facility this big. We have a lot of nice facilities in the area, marinas in the area. I don't believe - I haven't heard but i don't think there's one in the whole Northwest Florida this big."

North Lagoon Partners Managing Director Scott Burt says, "It will generate an enormous amount of tourism, enormous amount of dollars spent in tackle shops, and in the supply shops as well as manufacturers throughout the state."

The project will take the marina's storage capacity from 600 to more than 1,200 boats.

Investors hope the project will be completed by September of 2014.

Here's another good sign.

Marina managers say they already have a waiting list for the storage slips.


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