If the fourth largest city in Florida gets its way, the Gulf Coast may soon be a rival to the state’s east coast in attracting superyachts.

St Petersburg is now seeking proposals to develop, lease, and operate a marina dedicated to large-yachts and research vessels.

City officials have noticed increased superyacht revenue since 2007, citing two significant visitors — Tatoosh and Ecstasea.

While Ecstasea spent a month in the port in 2008, Tatoosh has spent significantly more time in the port. In fact, her captain has written a letter stating that Tatoosh has used the city as its main US base since 2006 and that it has been easy to shuttle guests to and from the yacht while in the port.

He adds that maintenance work has also been arranged during some of her visits. “If a utility is not available, the staff at the port of St Petersburg are extremely helpful in arranging external services from local providers,” he writes.

There’s good space available in the port for a dedicated superyacht marina, which touts a 420m (1,380ft) wharf, a water depth of 6.4m (21ft) — and nearly four acres of land that can be developed as a boardwalk or for other uses. There are already fuelling, pump-out, water, customs, and other related services available.

Proposals must focus on yachts larger than 39.6m (130ft) and be submitted by early November. There will be a preference towards proposals targeting yachts exceeding 45.7m (150ft) and including potential use by research vessels. (The Port currently has one long-term tenant, SRI St. Petersburg, a marine research and development firm.)

The maximum term for any agreed-upon development is 10 years, in accordance with city rules. If a developer wishes a longer term, it would need voter approval via a citywide referendum.