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As $5-million marina rises, so do hopes for waterfront

A group of local investors is building a marina in an industrial section just south of the Gandy Bridge, offering pleasure boaters out-of-water boat storage and ultimately a dockside bar and restaurant.

The $5-million Tampa Bayside Marina will occupy a 7.5-acre site at 5200 West Tyson Ave. It is the former location of Interbay Marina, which was built in the mid-1960s and served mainly as a boat repair yard.

Construction began last month and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Sections of the marina will open as early as September, said Charlie Funk, a principal investor in the marina and a partner in Carlyle Investments, a Tampa-based residential and commercial real estate developer.

Funk and partners Jeff Meehan and Mike Emmanuel formed C.J. Marina LLC to develop the marina, which the group bought in February.

"Right now it's in an industrial area," Funk said Wednesday, "but we think it will be a destination spot."

Mayor Dick Greco, who took a tour of the facility last week, said he was impressed with the group's plans for the marina.

"This is a great thing for Tampa," Greco said. "We have not utilized our waterfront over the years in Tampa. We should have more restaurants on the water."

Greco said covered boat storage in Tampa is a rarity so the marina will allow Tampa boaters to store their boats in the city instead of in Pinellas County.

The marina will offer "high and dry" facilities, with dry storage for nearly 480 boats up to 43 feet in length.

Construction has begun on revamping an existing 27,000-square-foot building at the marina, which will house 120 boats.

The foundation work on a new 55,000-square-foot building will begin in September.

In addition to a restaurant and bar, the marina will offer fueling and repair services and sell used and new boats. All the amenities will be leased out and are expected to open by Jan. 1.

Funk said he and his partners are now talking to restaurant operators and boat retailers. He would not offer any names of prospective tenants.