FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Northport Marketplace, a 77,000-sf building here that has been vacant for 3 ½ years, has been sold and is being repositioned as a maritime specialty center.

Portside Yachting Center LLC paid between $6 million and $7 million for the property in Broward County. The buyer is headed by Andrew Martin, a local retail developer and investor. Plans call for the center to have a special focus on yachting and related businesses.

Located on 17 Street Causeway, adjacent to the Broward County Convention Center, the building sits on 3.89 acres. The property is leased from Broward County for 99 years with 90 years left. The buyers purchased the lease, according to J. Brett Houston, a broker involved in the deal, and the building should be back in business soon.

“We’ve already identified our first tenant,” Mark Ellert, a principal in Portside Yachting Center LLC, tells Locally based International Yacht Collection, a large mega-yacht brokerage, is taking approximately 11,500 sf.

Other potential tenants include credit agencies, lending firms and yacht designers, Ellert says. In addition, he says, the buyers are talking to a national office copy center and a breakfast coffeehouse tenant, which would service the building.

The buyers plan to have a leasing agent, but one has not yet been selected, he adds.

They plan to rent all the available space that they can to companies and organizations involved in maritime trade industries, such as freight and cruise ships. The average rental rate for the space is about $20 per sf triple net. The building is available for immediate occupancy, Ellert says.He adds that the property will undergo a variety of cosmetic improvements, including the removal of exterior escalators, re-landscaping, re-painting and adding parking.

Northport Marketplace, built in 1998, was an entertainment and retail complex that failed. LaSalle National Bank foreclosed on the property in April 2000. Before the foreclosure, Houston, broker and president of Resource Real Estate Group Inc., was appointed receiver by the court. The company listed the high-profile property for sale, and the property took more than three years to sell.

Resource Real Estate Group specializes in marketing and managing institutionally owned foreclosed commercial properties.

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