Operator plans to demolish Jordan Lake marina, orders all boats out
Posted February 22, 2012
Apex, N.C. — A pending change in the operation of the only marina on Jordan Lake in Chatham County has boat owners who dock at the marina facing uncharted waters.
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.
Three weeks ago, the state accepted a bid from John Norton for a 30-year lease that begins in May, prompting longtime operator Albert Urquhart to pull up stakes – and all of the infrastructure he's installed at the marina over the years.
Norton and his partners offered to buy the docks, fuel pumps and other facilities, but Urquhart recently sent letters to the owners of the boats docked at Crosswinds Marina to inform them he would rather demolish the marina than accept what he considers to be a low-ball offer.
Urquhart said all boats need to be removed by March 31.
"I'm disappointed in what he's doing right now by not negotiating. I told him that," said Bill Campbell, who has docked his houseboats at Crosswinds Marina for 20 years. "Any sharp businessman, I would imagine, has depreciated these docks out to almost nothing, and so if it was me, I'd take the money and run and not destroy what's here."
Steve Hemberly, who has owned the boat repair shop on the property for the past 15 years, said Urquhart told he also had to clear out by the end of March.
"There will be nothing here," Hemberly said. "These buildings will all go."
He said he plans to relocate temporarily 4 miles down the road. His business will take a major hit, he said, but right now, he's as busy as ever because of the ownership change.
"We are in high demand (for) trailer work. Everybody is getting their boats ready for a possible take out," he said.
The owners of large boats say relocating will not only be very expensive, it will be difficult since storage space in the Triangle is limited.
The new managers said they plan to begin building new docks when they take control of the marina on May 15. The process should be complete by August, they said.
Norton's company also plans to revitalize the area, add training courses, boat rentals, a café, an observation deck and picnic area.
Campbell retired in November, and he said he and his wife were hoping this summer was going to be the season to really enjoy their home on the lake.
"Unfortunately, it's not going the way we wanted it to," he said.