GULF SHORES, Ala. — White-Spunner Construction Inc. and Saunders Yachtworks will break ground on a new Gulf Shores dry dock basin on April 7. The project is a public-private partnership in excess of $10 million between the City of Gulf Shores, Saunders Yachtworks of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and the Economic Development Agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.
Construction will begin construction April 18 on the basin, docks, and heavy-lift infrastructure components and is expected to last 15 months.
The facility is located on 14 acres owned by the city and its Airport Authority and leased to Saunders on a long-term arrangement. The site has 965 feet of water frontage on the inner-coastal waterway and customers are expected to be drawn from the northern Gulf Coast, the inland rivers of the U.S. up to the Great Lakes, and from south Florida. Recreational, military, and commercial vessel operators will be served by the complex.
Dry dock capacity is designed for vessels up to 150 tons, 120 feet in length. (Clark, Geer, & Latham Engineering of Mobile designed and engineered the project under contract with the City).
The marine basin and dry dock will create approximately 180 construction jobs during the 15-month construction phase, Seth Smith of White-Spunner Construction said. Saunders, which currently employs 45 full-time employees at its Orange Beach boatyard, estimates it will add 25 new jobs within two years of opening its Gulf Shores facility. Saunders is a 52-year-old, family-owned company with annual sales of $7 million. Sales are expected to reach more than $12 million when the boatyard is fully operational.