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Noank Shipyard opening shipyard in Bridgeport

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Adding to its existing portfolio of Noank Shipyard in Groton and Seaport Marine in Mystic, Noank Shipyard Inc. has set its sights on the other end of the state and is looking to have Bridgeport Boatworks in full swing within the next 90 days.

The property on Bridgeport Harbor was previously the site of Derecktor Shipyard but has been vacant for about a decade. Until recently, the Bridgeport Port Authority was the owner.

"A year and a half ago, we started talking with the City of Bridgeport and ultimately thought it was a good fit for us for expansion and wanted to reactivate the yard because it's such a unique property on the East Coast," said Harry Boardsen, general manager of Noank Shipyard.

So he got involved with RCI Group, a real estate company based in Miami, Fla., and they won the request for proposals the city issued.

The Connecticut Post first reported on the forthcoming opening of Bridgeport Boatworks, which is involved with a larger mixed-use waterfront development at Steelepointe Harbor. It will include a 110-slip marina, housing, restaurants and retail.

"We'll first and foremost be a service facility for our retail customers, you know, hull and launch services, summer and winter storage, paint and fiberglass restoration, commercial steel work, things of that nature," Boardsen said.

There are already 75-ton and 200-ton travel lifts on site, and Boardsen hopes to install a fuel dock and fueling services in the coming years. He anticipates hiring up to 30 people in the short term, and potentially more as the business develops.

Along with Steelpointe Harbor, RCI also owns Miami Beach Marina in South Beach, Fla.; River Cove Marina in downtown Miami, Fla., and Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"Doing this project in conjunction with them in Bridgeport helps us with being part of a world-class marina network that's already established," Boardsen said, "so we can also hopefully garner business out of the transient market, starting in south Florida."

Boardsen said the Bridgeport operation ties in well with redevelopment plans for Seaport Marine on Washington Street in Mystic. Bob Christoph, of RCI, agrees.

"We felt they were really a great strategic relationship for Mystic and Bridgeport to be tied together, to take care of two different markets for the Long Island Sound," he said.

e.moser@theday.com

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