Investment group acquires Flagship Marinas

DALLAS – A portfolio of marinas and the Dallas-based Flagship Marinas management company were acquired last week from the Goldman Sachs-sponsored Whitehall Real Estate Fund entities by a small private investment group led by Jeffrey J. Rhodes of Wynewood, Pa., the company reported today.

The amount of the purchase was not disclosed. Primary debt financing for the acquisition was facilitated by GE Commercial Finance and Bank of America.

The new company, called Flagship Marinas Acquisitions LLC, owns and/or operates over 10,000 slips and is ranked by size and number of slips among the top three marina companies in the United States, with properties in Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Mass.; Atlanta, Ga. and Iuka, Miss., according to a press release from the company.

The Flagship Marinas management company also manages marinas in Florida and South Carolina.

It was formed in 1998 as Marinas International by Whitehall entities as part of their strategy to acquire and manage marina assets nationwide, and it will be further expanded under the new ownership.

The management company will be led by Gregory J. Kenney, who has served as president of the Flagship Marinas management company for five years, and the operating team of approximately 200 people will remain in place.

“The marina industry today reminds me of the hotel/resort business 25 years ago,” said Rhodes. “The hospitality business was fragmented and not very sophisticated back then, which is a stark contrast from its status in 2005. We feel there is a real opportunity with the purchase of Flagship to effect change in a similar manner for marinas.”

“Within the Flagship investor group, our collective expertise in marina management, finance and real estate development advantageously positions us to maximize the potential of these properties at every level. We are adapting the amenities and services to meet the new demands of the industry, such as the growing number of mega-yachts and an increasing desire for dynamic marina environments that offer the excitement and energy of restaurants, retail, hotels and residential activity. The best marinas have it all.”

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