Port District Board consents to change in ownership of Safe Harbor Marinas Ventura Isle

Sun Communities Operating Limited Partnership, an affiliate of Sun Communities, Inc., announced on Sept. 29 the company had entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Safe Harbor Marinas, LLC.

VENTURA—The Ventura Port District Board of Port Commissioners approved a change in ownership of Safe Harbor Marinas Ventura Isle, at its Oct. 21 meeting.

On Sept. 30, SHM Ventura Isle, which has a ground lease with the district for the marina, asked for approval for a change in ownership from SHM Ventura Isle to Sun Communities Operating Limited Partnership, a real estate investment trust based in Southfield, Michigan that owns and operates 426 properties across North America.

A day earlier, Sun Communities had announced it reached a definitive merger agreement to acquire 101 Safe Harbor Marinas across 22 states, including Ventura Isle Marina.

“As Safe Harbor Marinas, LLC (“Safe Harbor”) grows, we continuously seek to expand our existing equity investors by restructuring the ownership of Safe Harbor through a merger,” Safe Harbor wrote in an email to the port district. “We expect to use our access to additional capital to grow through acquisitions, to reinvest into our operations, and to continue to improve out best-in-class offerings for our members.”

Through agreements with Sun Communities, Safe Harbor Marinas will operate independently from Sun Communities’ other businesses. According to a port district staff report, SHM Venture Isle’s entity, operations, and management team will remain the same.

“As a result, the Safe Harbor team will operate the company independently from Sun’s other businesses and Baxter Underwood will remain the CEO of Safe Harbor,” Sun Communities Chief Executive Officer Gary Shiftman said in an email to the port district. “From your vantage point things will remain the same.”

The district has had a ground lease with Ventura Isle Marina since Nov. 2003. The ground lease was amended and transferred to SHM Ventura Isle in April 2016.

As required by that lease, Sun Communities will pay the district a one-time “Appreciation Rent” payment for the change in ownership. The district will receive $862,000 from Sun Communities for this fee. Sun Communities will also reimburse the port district for its legal fees.

Long-term goals for the marina outlined in a staff report included increasing economic development, vitality, and diversity of the district through effective leasing and marketing strategies and building respectful, productive, and mutually beneficial business relationships with tenants, public agencies, elected officials and the community.


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