An effort to expand the services of a local manufacturing facility is complete, according to the City of Miami's economic development director and its grant writer.
Brian Barger and grant writer Larry Eller announced Friday that the city's economic development department had closed the deal on the expansion of Boatfloater Industries LLC, a Miami-based business that manufactures boatlifts.
City officials said the manufacturing business, currently located at 418 C St. SW, has outgrown its “cramped and outdated” manufacturing facilities. Operations are conducted out of three buildings on the site that do not lend themselves to an assembly line manufacturing process. Materials used in the manufacturing process are stored outside due to the unavailability of warehouse space.
“To complicate matters, the manufacturing facility is located in the floodplain,” Barger said. “Floods threaten to disrupt the corporation's business activities at the most inopportune times.”
Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield and Miami City Council members, in concert with the city's development authority, set the wheels in motion earier this year to expand a local business, create 15 to 20 new jobs and entice new industry to Miami.
On the recommendation of the city's development authority, council members approved the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land and three buildings located at 1310 Newman Road.
The $375,000 purchase will be divided into two equal lots. Five acres and a 34,000 square-foot industrial facility will be sold to Boatfloater Industries. The remaining property will become the city's first industrial incubator.
Boatfloater Industries, owned by Phil Woodall and Ian McClure, will pay $250,000 for its portion of the property, according to Eller.
The development authority will assist Woodall and McClure by providing a $200,000 low-interest loan. Also, at the recommendation of the development authority, city officials applied and received approval for a $99,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Loan that will join the incentive package offered to Boatfloater Industries. The money will be re-paid over 10 years at an interest rate of 4 percent, according to Eller.
“We are excited about this opportunity to help a local business expand,” City Manager Michael L. Spurgeon said. “Growth in economic development comes first from within. It is critical that we help existing industry strengthen and grow.”
Barger said that the effort to expand a Miami business is “thrilling” for the city's economic development department because it is “a chance to show that we are not just about commercial and retail. Industry is also an important part of economic development Š it is part of the puzzle.”
Barger said he began looking for a facility to accommodate Boatfloater Industries in May of last year after being contacted by Woodall. The industry has outgrown its 12,000 square-foot facility, according to Barger, and is essentially hindered by a building that could not meet its manufacturing needs.
“He was being enticed to leave Miami,” Barger said. “But, he loves his workforce and he did not want to lose his crew. He has a dedicated team of employees.”
Boatfloater Industries currently employs eight, according to Barger, but that number is expected to be increased by as much as 20. Barger said the move would mean an increase in production based purely on the ability to work more efficiently. The owners will now have the space to bring outsourced work back into the fold.
“Placing the industry at a site near the existing Tracker Marine facility is also a strategic move, which could be the genesis of a cluster of marine-based business”, Barger said. “It creates synergy and could draw the interest of similar business to Miami.”