Member Profile: Julie Berry, Marina Investments Group January 31, 2018
Born in Fort Lauderdale, Julie Fisher Berry moved to various states throughout her childhood but always lived around coastal and boating towns, like Long Island, New York and Massachusetts. After high school, Julie made her way back to Broward and attended Nova Southeastern University with the intention of becoming a lawyer. She had loved her high school course in courtroom law, and had a natural ability to negotiate, debate, and pay close attention to detail. However, after taking classes in business law and accounting, Julie decided to major in accounting and ended up in real estate brokerage after being offered a coveted position with a prominent real estate developer, where she worked for seven years before joining Stiles.
Julie began in the realty division at Stiles, where she worked in corporate office leasing for development projects in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and then eventually moved into investment sales. While working on an acquisition that included a marina and boatyard, she was introduced to a whole new world of marina sales and transactions, where she has now focused her business for more than 10 years. She finds marina properties are particularly interesting because they are so different. No two properties are alike. The people in the marine industry are also very different because they typically have a history and an emotional attachment to their property, which creates a more personal working relationship, unlike corporate office clients with whom she previously worked.
Julie loves to travel, especially in Europe and the Islands, but she doesn’t always have time to indulge in her favorite past time. Her business is not cyclical, but rather a 365/24/7 commitment she takes very seriously. Her clients come first, and when they have a question or a new idea, she makes herself available whenever duty calls.
When asked to describe a transaction that proved to be more challenging than others, Julie recalls the recent sale of the Lighthouse Point Yacht Club. Close to the Hillsboro Inlet, the beautiful private club and 80-slip marina accommodating boats up to 120’ had been family-owned for more than 40 years. The family hired Julie as a consultant, asking her to use the utmost discretion to work with potential buyers who would maintain the operation of the club and marina, an important element for the club members and the residents of Lighthouse Point. She secured a client who met all the right criteria and she was able to negotiate the purchase and sale of the property, which is now a matter of public record.
Having grown up around boats and marinas, Julie felt comfortable choosing to specialize in the acquisition and disposition of all kinds of marina property. She believes that a person should be fully immersed in the marine industry to effectively work on complex marina and boatyard transactions. Once she decided to specialize in marine properties, Julie relied on Frank Herold to help ensure that she knew the inner workings of the marine industry. She continually strives to gain more knowledge of these special working waterfront properties and advocates for marine properties to remain marine properties wherever possible. She works with people from all over the world who contact her when looking, or even thinking about looking, for marine properties based on her reputation and knowledge of the intricacies involved in buying or selling marinas and boatyards.
Julie loves every kind of water sport and spends whatever spare time she has being very active. She enjoys wakeboarding, water skiing, and SCUBA diving – especially in the Florida Keys, where her family has an oceanside home. On her “bucket list” is kite-surfing, a difficult activity to learn that requires specific weather and wind conditions for beginners.
As a recipient of an award from the South Florida Business Journal for Influential Business Women, Julie is involved with an active group of women mentors who were also named by the South Florida Business Journal as influential leaders in their field. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club Yacht Rendezvous Committee, which raises about $1.5 million from a three-day yachting event at Fisher Island every year. She is very interested in serving on the Board of the Marine Research Hub of South Florida because she is passionate about the health of our oceans, as well as the marine and oceanographic research that offers incredible insight into potential cures and treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer.
With her son off at the University of Florida studying pre-med, and her brother living in Washington, D.C. where he owns a sound engineering company, Julie recently enrolled in a French Speaking immersion class to refresh her French language fluency. She loves visiting the beautiful coastal towns of southern France, where the people are wonderful and the wine region is incredible. Hopefully, she will be able to negotiate a trip overseas in the very near future.