New England Boatworks sold for $27 million
PORTSMOUTH — New England Boatworks has sold its roughly 28-acre property in Melville, Rhode Island, along with the rights to more than 360 deep-water berths for $27 million to Safe Harbor Marinas.
Quit claim deeds and other paperwork filed earlier this month with the town clerk’s office in Portsmouth, which is available online, confirmed the real estate transaction. The sale came to the attention of The Daily News when it was included in a list of transactions published in the newspaper.
A New England Boatworks representative referred questions to co-owner Tom Rich, who did not immediately return a voice message Tuesday. Safe Harbor Marines did not return a voice message.
Dallas-based Safe Harbor Marinas, which owns 80 marinas in 18 states — including Onset and North Falmouth — issued a prepared statement earlier this month announcing the purchase, saying that New England Boatworks is its sixth property around Narragansett Bay.
Among its Rhode Island properties is the former Brewer Yacht Yard marina in Common Fence Point that was rebranded as Sakonnet Marina.
“NEB is one of the most renowned boatyards in the country and it will be a cornerstone for our boaters in Narragansett Bay,” said Jason Hogg, senior vice president of investments for Safe Harbor Marinas, in the statement.
“We’re also very excited about growth projects already permitted and expansion opportunities we intend to pursue at this unique property.”
New England Boatworks, which was founded in 1988, builds and repairs boats, and offers long-term storage with 48,000 square feet of indoor space, as well as 14 acres of outside storage.
On a visit to Portsmouth two years ago, Gov. Gina Raimondo made a stop at the company. “I’m very impressed by what I saw,” she said. “They’re known all around the world for the quality of their craftsmanship and I’m proud to have them be in Rhode Island.”
Safe Harbor Marinas purchased all four lots owned by New England Boatworks in the Melville waterfront district that is also home to McMillen Yachts, Hinckley Yacht Services Portsmouth and other marine-related companies.
The American Infrastructure Funds, a private investment firm, founded Safe Harbor Marinas in 2015 “through the acquisition of three marina portfolios and an experienced management company,” according to a company statement.
“The Safe Harbor partnership was formed to bring industry leaders and stable assets together to create a powerful and lasting business,” said Ryan Barnes, the chairman of Safe Harbor Marinas and managing director of American Infrastructure Funds, in a 2017 statement about the purchase of Brewer Yacht Yard Group. “We continue to pursue combinations with respected marina owners to further augment and grow the platform.”
Safe Harbor Marinas has grown at a blistering pace. At the start of 2016, it owned or managed 31 marinas across 12 states. The purchase of Brewer Yacht Yard Group in 2017 upped the total to 63 properties across 17 states, making Safe Harbor Marinas, the “largest owner and operator of marinas in the world,” housing over 30,000 members’ boats.