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Jordan Lake marina shakeup worries boaters

Posted February 6, 2012
Updated February 7, 2012

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— The operation of the only marina on Jordan Lake in Chatham County will change hands this summer for the first time in three decades.

The Crosswinds Marina, at 565 Farrington Road in Apex, is sublet to an independent operator at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, which is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased by the state of North Carolina.

The marina's current lease agreement with operator Albert Urquhart expires in May, prompting the state to put out an open call for bids.

The Council of State on Tuesday approved a bid from John Norton to run the marina through August 2031. The State Property Office had recommended Norton's bid over one submitted by Urquhart, who has operated the marina since it opened.

Officials said it was simply a business decision, noting that Norton's bid proposed paying 15 percent of gross revenue to the state, while Urquhart offered only 8 percent.

The state will play no role in the transition to a new marina operator, said Don Reuter, spokesman for the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.

Jordan Lake marina could change hands after 30 years Jordan Lake marina could change hands after 30 years

"We're hopeful the two parties can work something out," Reuter said, referring to Urquhart and Norton.

Urquhart built the docks at the marina and installed its fuel pumps and restroom facilities. He said he'll pull out everything he owns if he doesn't get a fair offer, which has some boat owners worried that they'll be forced to move their boats.

"A lot of boat owners are very concerned about what's going to happen and the logistical nightmare that will occur if this transition isn't smooth," said Peter Laiosa, who has docked his boat at the Crosswinds Marina for the past six years.

He said re-docking a boat isn't as easy as finding a new parking space for a car.

"You have to have a specially designed trailer," he said. "You have to find long-haul people who can move it. I have no place to move it to. Where would I move it?"

Norton's company plans to revitalize the area, add training courses, boat rentals, a café, an observation deck and picnic area.


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  • annie2toby Feb 9, 2012

    If you added a roof to the docks,you would have to carry a blow torch to cut through the spider webs to go boating

  • KPinNC Feb 8, 2012

    I've been going to that marina for 17 years. I'm frankly, glad to see it change hands. Al is unfriendly and unappreciative of the business. Plus, as I've shopped for houseboats on the lake, the part where the slip "maybe is-maybe isn't" included wears thin. Frankly, I think it's a dislike of non-southerners.

    I'd love to see them replace the small boat docks, add lifts and a roof (if possible). Most of those current boats look like someone's biology project....

    Just sayin'

  • Good Bye WRAL Feb 8, 2012

    btneast - While my simple comments was not an expose on owning or running a business, I have kept up with the regulated costs required of the vendor, i.e. cost of doing business with the state and authorities. There have been few of these cost increases over the years, and yet the increases in launch fees and docking fees have increased significantly. Perhaps the current owner sees the potential end of the contract and was simply increasing his margin without increasing level of service? That's my opinion and I hope a change would bring better facilities. A real bathroom/bath house would be 1st priority (for the ladies).

  • IndependentAmerican Feb 7, 2012

    fredk: "I understand that Albert offered 8% of gross revenue (not of profits), and the other bid was 15%. " Any bets that the prices next year - aka gross revenue - will be at least 7% higher?

  • jordanlakewatersports Feb 7, 2012

    I own Jordan Lake Water Sports (http://www.jordanlakenc.com) and our business also has to operate by guidelines dictated by both state and federal government regarding lake use and development, which is why I have to conduct business outside of the park at my residence (which borders state park land) and launch boats only as customers are ready to use them. My opinion is that there needs to be more than one "marina" or privately operated lake access point to provide options for boat owners, and the competition between these sites will ultimately provide for better services/lake experiences. Unfortunately, that will not happen on Jordan Lake. I hope that this "transition" happens smoothly and does not disrupt the enjoyment of the lake for those that use the marina. Summer will be here soon, here's to a safe and enjoyable use of a beautiful local natural resource! Be sure to come and visit the lake!!! -Benjamin Davis

  • btneast Feb 7, 2012

    rich people has so many problems

    ...rich people don't keep their boats at public marinas like this one.

  • btneast Feb 7, 2012

    the current owners just kept increasing launch fees and docking fees, while still selling products & gas for profit.

    ...that comment tells me you've never owned or at least run a business. Every transaction has a cost(be it labor, raw goods or periodic maintence) and needs to return some type of profit. There's also a HUGE difference between gross profit( which is I suspect you are thinking of) and net profit

  • Pseudonym Feb 7, 2012

    Quote from Iworkforaliving: "hold on a sec, let me get my violin."

    I guess you're trying to make a poor-poor-pitiful-rich joke? You should know you can buy a decent bass boat for A LOT less than a decent violin.

  • I know some stuff Feb 7, 2012

    I understand that Albert offered 8% of gross revenue (not of profits), and the other bid was 15%. Who in their right mind would bid so high?
    Albert provided basic marina services, at a reasonable price.
    We're all eager to hear the plans from the new operator. At a 7% disadvantage already, this can't be good for the boating public. Something smells here, and it's not just the fish in the lake.

  • I know some stuff Feb 7, 2012

    to "pause to consider" and all...I too made suggestions for improvements, but each time I was told that the rules imposed by the Corps of Engineers prohibited such 'development'.
    For example...a permanent office....is not possible, because in case of flood, they must be able to move it within 48hrs notice. That's WHY it is a Mobile building. In my 12+ yrs, there, I believe they have hauled it up the hill twice due to hurricane induced rains. That's also why the gas tanks, and bathrooms are 'up the hill'.