b'OWNERS PERSPECTIVE nBY JEFF CRIDERYacht Haven Park & Marina was bought by two business partners in 2021 for $58 million and since the purchase they have invested millions into the park. Photo: Yacht Haven Yacht Haven Park & Marina Co-Founders Continue to Invest in Prime Florida ParkBefore he got into the private park busi- vated pool framed by a sleek wooden sun-ness, Gary Cioffi spent two decades work- deck, a poolside Tiki Hut with hammocks ingindesign,custombuildingandand a nautical-themed bar. Steps away is tradeshow management, ultimately co- a sunny recreation area with cornhole, foundingacompanyshuffleboard, a firepit and plenty of open that provided exclusivespace to unwind.hospitalityservicesforThe resort has also added kayak and high-net-worth individ- paddleboard rentals, pontoon boat rentals uals.and a 55-foot Sea Ray Sundancer that can We did large events,be chartered for sightseeing and fun on concerts and music fes- the water. Concierge services are onsite to tivalsaswellasbighelp guests plan their days and nights, and events surrounding theupgraded laundry and restroom facilities, Super Bowl, Cioffi said,aswellasvalettrashservice,provide Gary Cioffi adding, We would pro- added comfort and convenience.vide hotel packages, including executiveYacht Haven also launched an RV BnB security for A-list celebrities, music artists,starting with three Airstreams and a Class entertainers and high-net-worth individ- A motorcoach for rent through its website uals.and through Airbnb. Then one day a friend alerted Cioffi toWe rent them out by the day, week or an investment opportunity he couldnt re- month, like hotel suites. We market them fuse: A neglected 20-acre RV park 10 min- through our website and through AirBnB utes from the heart of Fort Lauderdaleand allow guests to rent them out at dis-with a mile of frontage along the Newcounts for friends and family, Cioffi said. River,whichconnectswiththeIntra- YachtHavensRVmarketincludes coastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean.snowbirds, weekenders and travelers from The park, called Yacht Haven Park & Ma- otherareasofFloridaandacrossthe rina, doesnt have actual boat slips, but itcountry, as well as RVers who work from can accommodate anywhere from 45 tothe road and people who work in various 60 vessels up to 150 feet in length. industries in the greater Fort Lauderdale I immediately saw a great opportunityarea of Florida. for a beautiful resort in a great place. So, IBut while the Yacht Haven Marina can moved on it pretty quickly, Cioffi said,accommodate enormous vessels, RVers adding that he and his business partner,dont normally have yachts themselves.Christopher Hein, purchased the prop- Right now, Cioffi said, we have at erty for $58 million on July 1, 2021.least 10 guests with an RV and a boat. But Cioffi and Hein subsequently investedall of them have day boatspontoons more than $20 million in improvements,and such. They go on day trips for fishing mainly restoring the park, which wasand sightseeing. They go out to dinner. originally built in 1955. They come back and dock the boat and We restored everything, Cioffi said.stay in their RV. We took everything that was old, beat upIndeed, the yachts that are docked at and busted and restored it.Yacht Haven are too big to be towed by They also reconfigured the RV sites toRVs. Dockage includes full hookups, and make them more spacious, reducing theall vessels, crews and guests are supported site count from 265 to 222 sites, all ofby Yacht Havens private marina team. which can accommodate Class A motor- Marina slips can be booked daily, weekly coaches up to 45 feet in length. Each RVor monthly. site has been updated with landscaping,Yacht Haven is one business, but there synthetic lawns, driveways, patio areas,are two offerings, Cioffi explained. The fiber optic Wi-Fi and utility hookups.Yacht Club is one offering and the RV re-Other improvements include a reno- sort is another. The people with big RVs 32 May 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine'