Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marina Owner Expands Capacity; Meanwhile, He Is Also Fighting the Expansion of a Neighboring Jail

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marina Owner Expands Capacity; Meanwhile, He Is Also Fighting the Expansion of a Neighboring Jail

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORRISON

BRUNSWICK - Robert M. Torras Sr. is standing by his assertion that plans to expand the Glynn County Detention Center will hurt his marina business.

But in a seeming contradiction, Torras fights the expansion on the east side of Newcastle Street while he adds more dock space to his sprawling Brunswick Landing Marina across the street.

The demand for dockage at the sheltered marina on Academy Creek in downtown Brunswick remains strong even in the midst of a nationwide economic slump and concerns that the jail expansion will lower property values in the area.

"We're adding 56 new slips," Torras said, "and more than half of them are reserved already."

The new slips are situated along a 1,250-foot dock that stretches from the northern end of the marina to Torras' boat yard on Newcastle Street Extension. Twenty-eight "fingers" extend from the dock, each capable of accommodating two 50-foot boats.

The marina is the largest saltwater marina in the state, and the new slips will raise capacity to 317 slips.

With the expansion, however, Torras has run out of water.

"That's it," Torras said. "We're done."

The marina opened in 1996 after a 10-year permitting process. Torras and Robert Torras Jr. have expanded it slowly, adding additional dockage only as the marina reached full capacity.

Boaters like the marina because it is located well away from the ocean, Torras Sr. said. It has developed a reputation as a "hurricane hole," providing sheltered harbor for the pricey yachts forced north by the insurance industry.

"I've been told that boats docked south of here are not insurable because of the hurricane problem," Torras said.

About 70 percent of the boats docked at the marina are owned by out-of-towners, Torras said. They base their boats here but take them on long trips into Florida and the Caribbean.

With no more room to expand, Torras will concentrate on the adjacent 24 acres he owns. …

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