Croce wants to
buy Santa Maria

One of St. Augustine's most iconic bayfront landmarks, the Santa Maria Restaurant, could get a complete makeover if swashbuckling entrepreneur Pat Croce gets his hands on it.

Croce, who relocated to St. Augustine from Key West in 2010, established the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum on Avenida Menendez, overlooking Matanzas Bay and the Castillo de San Marcos.

He later won the bid to lease and convert the former Spanish Colonial Quarter, and reopened it in 2013. Croce also manages the University of Florida's "First Colony" exhibit in the Government House.

If things go as Croce plans, he’ll next take on the picturesque old wooden structure that sits on piers just south of the St. Augustine Municipal Marina.

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New marine facility coming

By DOUGLAS JORDAN

The sprawling San Sebastian River property most recently home to the Luhrs boat building plant will soon be the location of a new marine center, The St. Augustine Shipyard.

Owner and project manager Bob Million said the St Augustine Shipyard will be "an upscale, resort marine community," located on the west bank of the San Sebastian River, and will open this fall.

He said plans for the 50-acre property at the end of Diesel Road include a full-service marina, a dry storage facility for boats up to 45 feet long, 85 wet slips for vessels up to 150 feet, several marine-related shops and services, at least two restaurants, and a luxury hotel.

"This is going to be a wonderful place for boaters," said resident Charlotte Wilson, who lives on Anastasia Island and owns a 37-foot Mainship trawler. "We've spent a lot of time looking at their website, and we're very excited to have this kind of world-class facility coming to St. Augustine."

The St. Augustine Shipyard will be constructed in two phases, Million said, with the smaller, first phase being completed as soon as September, though he said November would be more likely.

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Lighthouse settles ownership

The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Inc. will soon own the St. Augustine Light Station per a purchase agreement with St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.

Representatives from the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Inc. appeared before St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, March 4, to accept approval for purchasing the St. Augustine Light Station. The purchase agreement includes $150,000 to St. Johns County from the museum and subsequently releases the county and museum from a 69 year lease.

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It's official: He'll try again

By DOUGLAS JORDAN

When Stanley Paris decided to abandon his attempt to become the oldest sailor to complete a solo circumnavigation after sustaining damage to his 63-foot yacht, Kiwi Spirit, in January, he figured the dream was over.

"Initially, I thought, 'this is my last attempt, and I won't try again,'" Paris, 76, said on Feb. 28 from his waterfront home on Anastasia Island, overlooking the Matanzas River and downtown St. Augustine.

But now, the transplanted New Zealander who founded the University of St. Augustine has a different idea.

"This coming November, Kiwi Spirit and I shall begin again," Paris told the St. Augustine City Commission on March 10.

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Shrimp Boat City

By BRENDAN BURKE

This is the first in a series about St. Augustine’s emergence as a major shrimp fishing and boat-building port in the U.S.

This installment describes the humble beginnings of commercial shrimp fishing in northeast Florida and opens in the quiet backwaters of St. Johns County during the late 19th century, when shrimping was an artisanal, local skill.

Sunrise over the North River in the late 1800s was mostly a quiet affair. On this day, a steady ebb slowly drained the seemingly endless marshes where river met mud and became a grassy jungle ruled by fiddler crabs, fish, and poised herons.

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El Galeón a TV star

A new NBC television series about pirates, Crossbones, features El Galeón and its crew.

The show stars John Malkovich as Blackbeard. El Galeón is featured in three of the Crossbones episodes, which were filmed in Puerto Rico and took five months to complete.

Many of El Galeón’s crew members acted in the series as extras.

Crossbones airs on NBC on Fridays at 10 p.m.

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