Florida megayacht manufacturer bounces back

PALM BEACH, Fla. – Broward Marine has entered a new era in its 59-year history, launching a redesigned series of multimillion-dollar megayachts, the first of which will make its debut by year’s end, according to a story yesterday on the Miami Herald’s Web site.

That 120-foot vessel, which will carry a price tag of $13.75 million, will also signal a turnaround for Broward Marine, a once-thriving builder that has floundered in recent years with major cutbacks in staff and production, the newspaper reported.

Miami developer Tom Lewis has been working to rebuild South Florida’s only megayacht manufacturer since buying the company in March 2005.

“It really put South Florida on the map in this industry,” Lewis told the Herald. “Broward had a big name and deserves to still have that name.”

When Lewis bought Broward, it had 19 employees and was building about one yacht a year. But he quickly started rebuilding the staff, investing millions in upgrades at the boat yard.

Lewis has rehired many former Broward workers. The company now has about 120 employees with plans to expand to 150 next year. The new owner has also reassembled a team of experienced engineers, designers and managers, including Jim Bronstien, the former owner of Rybovich Spencer, who came on board as Broward’s chief operating officer in June.

Bronstien and Lewis want to not only revive Broward, but also to take it to the next level. They’ve added tougher construction standards for the new series of yachts Broward will build – three models, ranging in size from 105 to 185 feet – which are aimed at a younger buyer with an eye for entertaining, the newspaper reported.

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