Here are three articles, acquired on the internet, discussing Mako Marine's move to North Carolina. They were found at www.boating-industry.com, www.miaminewstoday.com, & www.sun-sentinel.com  respectively.


Mako Marine moving to North Carolina
 
United States

South Florida-based fishing boat builder Mako Marine International is moving its headquarters and manufacturing operations from Opa-locka, Florida, to Forest City, North Carolina, this summer, according to a recent report of Miami Today.

It appears as if Mako didn't give Miami-Dade County or the city of Opa-locka a chance to offer incentives for the manufacturer to stay, the newspaper suggested. By the time these groups discovered that Mako was planning to relocate, a decision had already been made.

"I hope this doesn't set an example for other parts of the marine industry and culture in South Florida," Larry Smith of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida told the newspaper. "We're the largest boating community in the U.S., and to lose an icon such as Mako is a real blow. If we had been notified earlier, we could have made an effort to keep jobs and an industry leader in our community."

The boat builder is taking 150 jobs with it in the relocation, which is expected to be complete by August 1, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, a broker with Collier International is finding selling the site a challenge. He told the newspaper that the industry is struggling right now.

-www.boating-industry.com


Boat builder Mako Marine leaving South Florida for North Carolina

By Frank Norton
   Boat builder Mako Marine International is shipping out by Aug. 1, taking 150 jobs and vacating a 10-acre industrial complex in Opa-locka.
   The 37-year-old company plans to move its headquarters and manufacturing to Forest City, NC, said Ted Konigsberg, a broker with Colliers International who is trying to sell the site.
   Some staff will relocate, too, an employee said.
   Mr. Konigsberg said the complex is a tough sell now because marine and other manufacturing industries aren't adding capacity.
   "As a whole, the industry is in trouble right now, so we're really not seeing an expansion mode," he said after contacting several boat manufacturers. "We had one injection-molding company that we thought was going to take it over, but frankly, they were bottom feeders looking for a very low price."
   The four-building complex at 4355 NW 128th Street includes more than 200,000 square feet of industrial space and 10,600 offices.
   Mr. Konigsberg said the site, near Opa-locka Airport, Interstate 75, the Gratigny Parkway and Red and LeJeune roads, is ideal for manufacturers needing heavy power loads, high ceilings and industrial zoning.
   The plant is owned by H&J Properties Corp., headed by Mako founder Robert Schwebke, who sold Mako in 1992. Mako's lease expires July 31.
   Operations manager Alton Herndon said Mako must move for growth. He also said North Carolina offered incentives.
   Miami-Dade County's economic-development agency didn't try to keep Mako because the company was not on the Beacon Council's annual project list, said Doris McPherson, the council's vice president for communications.
   She said council CEO Frank Nero told her Tuesday that he was aware of Mako's plan to leave but saw it as a "done deal" because it was an internal decision.
   Mr. Konigsberg, the broker, said the Beacon Council did not contact him about the move. "I called them a couple of weeks ago to come and take a look at the facility," he said, "and they never showed up."
   Ms. McPherson said the complex is in an enterprise zone, giving new users various tax breaks.
   The boating industry will feel the loss.
   "I hope this doesn't set an example for other parts of the marine industry and culture in South Florida," said Larry Smith of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. "We're the largest boating community in the US, and to lose an icon such as Mako is a real blow. If we'd been notified earlier, we could have made an effort to keep jobs and an industry leader in our community."
   An Opa-locka official said the city had no chance to try to persuade Mako to stay. "We're very saddened to see them go," said Ian Sachs, the city's community resource officer. "But Mako had made the decision before contacting us directly. We got kind of blindsided."
   Mako has made center-console fishing boats since 1966, marketing through dealers globally.
Details: www.mako-boats.com

-Miami Today, miamitodaynews.com


Boat builder leaving S. Florida

By Joseph Mann
Business Writer
Posted April 26 2003

Mako Marine Inc., which makes recreational fishing boats in Opa-Locka, is moving its headquarters and manufacturing facilities to Forest City, N.C

About 80 people work at the Opa-Locka plant, and a spokesman for the Tracker Marine Group, a Springfield, Mo.-based company that owns Mako, said the firm will offer severance and transfer opportunities to employees based on seniority.

Mako, which started its manufacturing operations in Opa-Locka in 1966, makes recreational boats ranging from 17 to 31 feet in length, costing from $27,000 to more than $100,000. Tracker said the company had been looking for a new site with more space in order to centralize Mako production, and that it had shifted some production to Tracker sites in other states over the past several years.

State and regional financial incentives were involved in the Mako move, said Tad Boggs, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, but a total for the incentive package was not immediately available.

"Mako's departure is a real loss to the area's marine industry, as well as to the Miami-Dade community in terms of jobs and economic benefit," said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, which represents about 800 marine businesses.

"We can't forget that a boat manufacturer provides jobs for numerous suppliers involved in the boat building process. Since financial incentives were involved in the decision, I would hope that Mako's departure serves as a reality check for our economic development agencies and that more emphasis is placed on retention of this segment of the marine industry," he added.

Tracker expects Mako production to restart at the new facility in the third quarter of 2003.

Ted Konigsberg, a broker with Colliers International, said Mako's lease in Opa-Locka expires Aug. 1. Konigsberg is offering the property, which includes four buildings on 10.2 acres, for sale or lease. Opa-Locka, in Miami-Dade County, is located north of Hialeah.

Boats built at the new facility in Forest City, a town of about 7,500 located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Smokey mountains, will be moved to dealers by road.

Joseph Mann can be reached at jmann@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4665.

Sun-Sentinel - www.sun-sentinel.com


State Seal

State of North Carolina
Office of the Governor

 
Michael F. Easley
Governor

Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Ernie Seneca
Date: 05/27/03 Phone: (919) 733-5612

Gov. Easley Announces Boat Manufacturing Facility To Locate In Rutherford County

 
Raleigh - Gov. Mike Easley today announced that Mako Marine International Inc. and SeaCraft Boats, a division of Tracker Marine Group, has chosen Forest City as the site for a new boat manufacturing facility that will create more than 300 new jobs with competitive wage rates averaging $13 per hour.
 
''This project is great news for Rutherford County and Western North Carolina,'' Easley said. ''The company will create quality jobs in a region that has seen challenging economic times. The company's decision to bring this facility to North Carolina shows that our investments in infrastructure and education are paying off.''
 
Mako Marine International Inc. is the builder of salt-water sport fishing boats. Founded as separate companies in the late 1960s in south Florida, Mako is credited with the original development of the center-console fishing boat design, while SeaCraft is known for the unique variable-plane hull surface and builds salt-water sport fishing models from 20 to 32 feet in length.
 
Tracker Marine Group of Springfield, Mo. acquired SeaCraft boats in the late 1980s and Mako Marine International in 1996. The company employs nearly 2,000 associates and has more than 400 dealers worldwide.
 
''The location is a great fit for our company,” said Ken Burroughs, president of Tracker Marine Group. “We are excited to be a member of the business community in Forest City and look forward to long-term relationships with the great people here.''
 
The company will renovate a 338,000-square-foot former textile plant for its operations.
 
The N.C. Department of Commerce worked with the Rutherford County Economic Development Commission and the N.C. Marine Trade Association to recruit the company to Forest City.

Posted on Sat, Apr. 26, 2003 story:PUB_DESC
Mako Marine to set sail
Opa-locka losing Mako to N.C.

ddupont@herald.com

Mako Marine, a fishing-boat manufacturer founded 37 years ago in South Florida, is leaving for North Carolina.

The factory in Opa-locka, which once employed about 400 workers and now has 80, is for sale. Boats will be made, instead, at an old textile plant in Rutherford County, which came up with a $3.1 million incentive package.

''This is a significant loss to our local marine industry, as well as the community, in terms of jobs and economic impact,'' said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.

Mako established a market niche in center-console fishing boats, Herhold said.

''Some would call it an icon,'' he added.

The Tracker Marine Group, Mako's parent, has been gradually shifting production out of state for several years. Tracker decided to consolidate the manufacturing of both Mako and Seacraft boats where it could get at least 40 acres, 200,000 square feet of space and ''acceptable economics,'' the Springfield, Mo.-based company said Friday in a statement.

Tracker said it would offer severance and transfer opportunities to some employees. No further details were available.

''Mako regrets having to leave its South Florida roots,'' read the statement by Tracker, the huge manufacturer founded by John L. Morris. He also is chairman of the multimillion-dollar Bass Pro Shop empire.

The sale of Mako's factory at 4355 N.W. 128th St. is being handled by Ted Konigsberg, a broker with Colliers International in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The asking price is $5.8 million, for nearly 202,000 square feet of space in four buildings on 10.23 acres. The property also is available for lease. Mako founder Robert Schwebke owns the building through H&J Properties.

''They had an option and decided not to extend the lease,'' which is up July 31, said Konigsberg, who's marketing the plant to boat builders and others.

Jim Lancaster, executive director of the Rutherford County Economic Development Commission, said the North Carolina county provided $3.1 million in incentives. About $2 million was to buy a 337,000-square-foot building in Forest City that once housed Burlington Industries and lease it back to Tracker for $1 per year for 20 years.

Projected employment calls for 300 workers within three years, Lancaster said. About 35 have been hired so far.

The factory will be a boost for a county of 60,000 that has lost 4,000 jobs in the past 3 ˝ years. The unemployment rate is 8.8 percent. Miami-Dade County's jobless rate is 7.1 percent; Broward County's is 5.6 percent.

The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development agency, found out that Mako was leaving through an e-mail it recently got from the property's broker. The agency first talked to Mako in 2001, because the company was concerned about some environmental and zoning issues. The agency wanted to see if there were another possible location, said Carlos Leonard, senior vice president for business development.

But ''they really were not planning to make any capital investment or create new jobs,'' Leonard said, so they couldn't qualify for assistance. At the time, Mako had 150 to 175 workers, he estimated.

The agency, which made several subsequent attempts to reach the company but never heard back, said it would try to find another tenant for the facility, which is in a special zone that qualifies for tax breaks and incentives.

Schwebke built the Opa-locka facility in the early 1970s and made 3,000 to 5,000 boats a year. He moved there from the original factory in Hialeah.

A fishing aficionado, he launched the company in 1966 because, he said, friends ``were tired of listening to me bellyache about not finding a light-tackle fishing boat.''

Mako boats range from 17 to 31 feet in length and from $18,000 to $30,000 in cost.

''It was a product whose time had come,'' said Schwebke, a Miami native who splits his time between Florida and North Carolina.

In 1994, a New York investment company acquired Mako's debt and took control of the company. Schwebke left at the end of the year. Mako went public in 1995 and, a year later, sold an 81 percent interest to Tracker.


Here are some photos of the new Mako/SeaCraft plant in North Carolina

 


A worker at Mako Marine's new plant in Forest City sprays a layer of fiberglass inside the mold for a hull of a saltwater fishing boat. Once the layers of fiberglass are built up and cured, the hull is popped out of the mold for finishing. (Angela Wyatt/Daily Courier)
Boat builders at the new Mako Marine plant in Forest City position a hull below a hoisted deck assembly in preparation for "mating" the two major components. (Angela Wyatt/Daily Courier)
Boat builders at the Mako Marine plant in Forest City complete the final details on a new saltwater fishing boat. "They start in a bucket and leave on a trailer," said Sherry Burns, Mako's recruitment and employment relations manager. (Angela Wyatt/Daily Courier)

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