Flanked by mega yachts Newvida andFighting Irish, Rybovich owner Wayne Huizenga Jr. unveiled plans to sink a controversial repair hub at the Riviera Beach marina in favor of redeveloping a site his company owns nearby.
“We are willing to make the additional investment to be a good neighbor and a good partner,” Huizenga said to a bank of cameras and note-taking reporters on Friday.
The new plan calls for Rybovich to build a $45 million mega yacht service center on 11 acres about a half-mile north of the Riviera Beach public marina, where it had previously sought to lease land from the city. The use of about one-third of the public marina for a private mega yacht center sparked a wave of public backlash and lawsuits.
The new facility will be designed to handle super yachts up to 400 feet long, which are currently being serviced in Europe. But to do that on the existing Rybovich site will require dredging of an inlet cut along Peanut Island to about twice its current depth. How that will be funded has yet to be hammered out, Huizenga said.
Construction of the new super yacht center could be under way within a year, he said, depending on how long permitting takes. Construction will take an additional year.
The center is expected to create 3,400 new jobs – including 1,000 on-site jobs with average salaries of $45,000 a year – and inject $630 million into the Palm Beach County economy.
Friday’s announcement, viewed as a compromise, comes only days before Riviera Beach voters are set to vote on repealing a ban on private industry at the city marina, which was imposed by voters in November.
But, with the Rybovich super yacht hub no longer on the table for Riviera Beach’s marina, Council Chairwoman Dawn Pardo hopes voters will repeal the ban.
“Wayne [Huizenga Jr.] is no longer part of the Riviera Beach plan,” she said. “Hopefully, the citizens will vote yes.”
If not, she said, other businesses, including a restaurant and several charter boat services, will be forced to vacate the city marina, which could hurt the city’s economy.