Story by Chris Landry
After more than 50 years in Miami, Bertram Yacht is relocating to Merritt Island, Florida. The legendary company’s president, Alton Herndon held a press conference at the new location and says Bertram plans to build more boats and to do it better on a large piece of land with direct access to a navigable waterway.
“Over four years ago, the decision was made to relocate Bertram,” Herndon said during a gathering of about 150 media members and Bertram employees. “A little over two years ago, we got serious about relocating. We’ve outgrown the facility in Miami with the size of [yachts] we are building.”
Bertram looked at more than 30 plant sites from North Miami to Virginia Beach, Virginia, Herndon says.
“At the same time we were looking, we cleaned up and reorganized the Miami facility, changed realtors and sold the facility,” he said. “We were looking for properties that were on navigable water and that preferably had large, tall buildings. We wanted property that had at least 30 to 40 acres to expand. And it goes without saying, we were looking for a community to hire good employees. Thirty-five sites later and, ba-boom; here we are: Merritt Island, Florida.”
Herndon said Bertram’s new 37-acre home satisfies all of these requirements, and it’s only 45 miles from the Orlando airport.
"In addition, Florida is the homeland of Bertram, so we were able to stay in Florida," Herndon said during the 30-minute presentation that also saw several government officials speak, as well as Ferretti Group chairman and founder Norberto Ferretti. Ferretti owns Bertram.
Moving costs for this established builder are expected to be high, but these expenses will be offset by assistance from Florida Space Coast’s Economic Development Commission (EDC). "Bertram Yacht is a legendary brand and we are pleased to keep this company with a strong Florida history in the state," says Lynda Weatherman, president & CEO of the EDC. "The company recognized the competitive advantages of a Space Coast location, particularly within our high-tech workforce. Bertram Yacht's creation of new jobs is a positive step in mitigating the effects of our post-Shuttle economy. We welcome Alton and the Bertram Yacht team and we look forward to the company's continued success and growth on the Space Coast."
Reports say the company has offered jobs to all their current employees in the new location and they expect at least 30 to 50 people to make the move to Merritt Island. Bertram has already begun a move that officially starts this summer. The molds for the Bertram 80 are on-site. The builder expects to begin working on the first boat in late September and to complete the move in October and November.
For more information, visit bertram.com