It's the oldest business in Gautier and the largest marina in Jackson County, but it's about to be sold to the highest bidder.
A live, on-site auction will be held at 3 p.m. April 19 for the Mary Walker Marina, when The National Auction Group of Gadsden, Alabama, starts taking bids. Registration begins at 2 p.m. that day.
It's a sprawling marina on 11 waterfront acres at 3308 Mary Walker Drive in Gautier that could be developed.
"On two separate occasions they were going to build condominiums there," said William Bone, president of National Auction Group.
The property also comes with a home and a half-acre island with a sandy beach.
The marina sale is a reserve auction, which means the highest bid doesn't have to be accepted if it is too low. But Bone said the seller is motivated and the marina is beautiful.
The sales brochure says the Pascagoula River frontage provides quick, deepwater access to offshore fishing and 139 million square miles of the "finest fishing in the world" in the Gulf of Mexico.
Along with 180 boat slips are amenities for those who live on their boat or day fishermen. The marina has a bait and tackle shop, ship store, electronic gate, free Wi-Fi and shower and laundry facilities. It also has fuel docks, about the only gas and diesel fuel tanks for boat fill-ups between Ocean Springs and Mobile and wet and dry boat storage.
Original owner Frank Wentzel started the marina as a fish camp and sold bait, ice and drinks, according to the history on the marina website. A piano crate provided the first cabin at the site. His son, Frank Wentzel Jr., and son-in-law, Wally Andrews, dredged the bayou to make a narrow channel for boat access, using only a 5 gallon paint bucket and a skiff and lifting the buckets of silt by hand.
National Auction Group is a family-owned real estate auction business. Representatives from the company will be at the site for buyer tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 14, noon to 6 p.m. April 16-17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 18 and 10 a.m. April 19, or by appointment by calling 800-445-6597.