The Ferretti Group held an open house of its renovated waterfront facility to kick off the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). The ribbon in front of the building was cut by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, with Ferretti officials and employees in attendance. The updated 20,000-square foot facility, with offices, 12 slips and open social areas, looks more like a luxury residential showroom on the water than a typical boat dealership.
Pinstriped mahogany floors, dark carbon-fiber on the walls, high ceilings to accommodate 80-foot yachts, and a Riva Lounge to celebrate the 180-year history of that Ferretti brand, all meshed well with the new yachts docked in the slips.
“We started this a few weeks before Covid hit,” said Simone Meletti, managing director of Ferretti Americas, who oversaw the nearly three-year project. “It was a challenge, but we were able to pull it through with much work.”
“This is really about the experience we’re selling,” Stefano de Vivo, Ferretti Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, told Robb Report at the event. “We’re specializing in the top niche of the market, so this is what you need as the first step of the customer journey.”
The US division of the Italian boatbuilding conglomerate had a banner 12 months, selling 211 yachts valued at about $553 million. The first models of new yachts from three of its brands, Ferretti Yachts, Riva and Pershing, were all sold to US clients, while the second Custom Line 140 was also sold in North America.
The waterfront facility had originally been purchased by Ferretti in 2008 when it bought Allied Marine. It has been remodeled several times as a customer showroom, but Ferretti decided to add the designer element in 2020 at the same time it was doing a 60-year update on the infrastructure for hurricane protection.
Ferretti used the same design team that creates its elaborate boat-show displays, while also working with other local and Italian designers on the final showroom.
The showroom combines luxe woods, stones and lighting, along with industrial-grade terrazzo. Smaller boats like the Riva Aquariva are on display out of the water, said de Vivo, “so we needed strong, high-end flooring like they use in airports to move them around.”
In the slips, the yachts ranged from the 80-foot Pershing 8X to a Wally 43 with outboards. The facility has special lighting to show off boats in the evening hours.
“We used to joke that we’re doing this for the next generation,” says de Vivo. “That’s true in a sense since the facility is designed to be hurricane-proof for the next 60 years. It’ll be around for a long time.”