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Portland Yacht Services buys boat-repair company

Portland Yacht Services owner Phineas Sprague Jr. purchased Gowen Marine, a boat repair business that has been a 2-acre fixture on the waterfront in Portland, Maine, for more than 50 years.

Sprague sold his 10-acre Portland Co. Marine Complex on the eastern end in late July and closed the following week on separate purchase and lease agreements for 23 acres where he plans to relocate his Portland Yacht Services boatyard, according to Mainebiz, a New England business journal that spoke recently with Sprague.

The purchase of Gowen Marine, which was expected to close in late September, will help Sprague with his long-term plans of relocating and expanding his boatyard, where he expects to break ground late this fall.

“I was not going to sell this property unless I had a place for my guys — my employees at Portland Yacht Services,” Sprague said. “So the first step was to identify a place where we could move the boatyard. In fact, our purchase-and-sales agreement said if we don't have that place, we're not selling the property.”

The move will help the city of Portland’s plans to create a yachting waterfront.

“That dialogue brought me to the conclusion that there was no way the boatyard was the highest and best use of this property,” Sprague said. “I realized I should be looking for another place to go. If we want Portland to resonate as a commercial harbor, as well as yachting harbor, there needs to be a place to take care of these boats.”

Sprague said he’s excited about building a new boatyard from scratch. “Very few people start a boatyard from scratch these days. Usually you are stuck with some existing legacy infrastructure that you try to do the best you can with.”