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Operator plans to demolish Jordan Lake marina, orders all boats out

Posted February 22, 2012

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— 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.

Crosswinds Marina at Jordan Lake Boats ordered out of Jordan Lake marina

"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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • matthewhendricks Feb 24, 2012

    The two marinas on kerr lake operate the same way and the lease at satterwhite point should be expiring soon, the current operators have been there quite some time now. Does anyone know what might happer there?

  • beachboater Feb 24, 2012

    "The state has terribly mismanaged this lease process. For them to say they have nothing to do with the transition is a failure to accept responsibility, yet they eagerly accept the taxes and lease money that this generates. To lose a season, or more maybe, due to this, should warrant a class action law suit by the 500 boat owners who use this facility, plus the 100's more families each year who come here." fredk

    WOWSERS!!! I knew that this country was sue crazy but this is nuts!!! Maybe I should sue my mechanic because he died last year and now I can't get my car fixed.

    Or the little country store close to my house that closed some time back. should I sue the old owner, or the new owner for the inconvenience I suffered?

  • dumbhick Feb 24, 2012

    This will cost the owners of large sailboats and houseboats a lot of money. That's the price of expensive toys. Maybe instead of paying to haul them out and store them the owners should choose to sell them for ridiculously low prices.

    Another vote for his property/his choice. Poor financial decision? His financial decision. Money isn't everything to everyone.

  • quaten Feb 23, 2012

    >>Why is there only ONE marina on this lake?

    Excellent question.

  • paul27 Feb 23, 2012

    For those looking for open or covered boat and rv storage, Harris Lake Boat Storage has availability.

  • Vietnam Vet Feb 23, 2012

    Seems to me that selling the existing infrastructure, at whatever price, to the new owners would have been the prudent move financially. And if it's as delapidated as some say let the new owners deal with demolition or renovation. I've seen the marina and it definitely looks it's age. This smacks a bit of "sour grapes" because he didn't get the contract again. But having to spend money to tear everything out and haul it away is a little like shooting himself in the foot!

  • nucdnsuct Feb 23, 2012

    Some people are both penny and pound foolish....

  • eelbeck Feb 23, 2012

    How logical is it that he should leave the pumps/docks/equipment that HIS money purchased , even if he can't use them. The bullying new owners delivered an obscenely insulting offer to keep it all there, thinking they could squeeze him, that he had no other options. Refreshing to know that his principles trump finances - that he is willing to spend the big bucks for demolition rather than yield to their strong arming. Whatever the outcome, the new owners say they will be operational by August... August of WHAT year? Surely not this one!

  • Enuffalready Feb 23, 2012

    Hey Honesty.. honestly, why do you think the current owner tried to "short change" the state? Because he didn't win?

    "Monopoly" keeps being raised. Perhaps someone can answer this question -Why is there only ONE marina on this lake?

  • annie2toby Feb 23, 2012

    Call the current owner names if it makes you feel better because we know there is not two sides to every story. I assume if you pay off your 30 year old house you will accept cents on the dollar when you sell because after all it needs some work. If this was a 30 year lease why did the state take 29.5 years to do something about this. Sounds like great planning to me.