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Longtime Downtown Marina Operator May Lose Control to Bigger Company

By Irene Plagianos | October 10, 2014 8:39am
 The contract for North Cove Marina, operated for years by the Manhattan Yacht Club, is up for renewal.
The contract for North Cove Marina, operated for years by the Manhattan Yacht Club, is up for renewal.
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North Cove Marina

BATTERY PARK CITY — After years of sailing from North Cove Marina, the Manhattan Yacht Club could soon be set adrift, as it competes with larger companies to gain control of Battery Park City’s prime waterfront real estate.

The Manhattan Yacht Club, a fixture in New York Harbor since 1994, has become a beloved neighborhood institution, offering sailing programs for young students and adults, along with community programming, residents said. But now, the club is fighting to stay afloat.

The Battery Park City Authority, the owner of the marina, recently put out a Request For Proposals for operating the expansive marina, populated with numerous high-end yachts, as well as the sailing school.

Michael Fortenbaugh, the longtime commodore of the Manhattan Yacht Club and a resident of Battery Park City, has a 10-year contract with the BPCA for control of the marina, which expires at the end of the year.

“We’ve worked really hard to make the marina the beautiful, successful place it is today,” Fortenbaugh said. “We’re really a homegrown organization — we’re part of the community and want to provide a place for people to learn to love sailing, while also bringing in the mega-yachts.”

“We’re small, but we certainly feel that no other operator will care about the marina and the community the way that we do,” he added.

According to BPCA records, several large marina operators, including Suntex Marinas, which runs 22 marinas, as well as Island Global Yachting, have expressed interest in taking over North Cove.

Brookfield Properties, which owns buildings and property surrounding the marina, is also eyeing a bid for the marina, records show.

At a Community Board 1 meeting this week, Fortenbaugh and his yacht club received an outpouring of gratitude and support from residents. Board members encouraged residents to write letters of support on behalf of Fortenbaugh, in his new bid for the marina.

Brookfield declined comment.

Ronald TenEyck, the vice president of the Suntex, said his company, which also operates a marina in Battery Park and at Pier 25, would love to get a chance to run North Cove.

"It's one of the best locations in New York City," said TenEyck. "We'd love the opportunity to operate the marina. There's no other place like it in New York City."

The proposals for the marina are due Oct. 24, and a spokeswoman for the BPCA said a new operator would be chosen sometime in December and then would take over on Jan. 1, 2015.

"The Battery Park City Authority is committed to conducting a fair and transparent RFP process," BPCA spokeswoman Robin Forst said in a statement.