Lakeside Marina transforming into Flathead Harbor

March 3, 2019

The new owners of the former Lakeside Marina are working diligently to have everything ready for the summer season on Flathead Lake.

Lakeside Marina Resort, LLC, took possession of the property, which includes 500 feet of shoreline, a dock with more than 120 boat slips and two restaurant buildings, in early February.

The California-based investors have renamed the complex Flathead Harbor. They have already knocked down an old building used for boat maintenance, opening up views across the lake toward the Swan Range and creating a space for outside seating.

“They’re committed to developing this into an improved facility, one that will serve the needs of the Lakeside, Somers and Flathead Valley communities year-round,” said Lois Evans of Montana Community Management. Her company has handled the leasing of boat slips for the marina the last few years and is going to do the same for the new owners.

The waterfront restaurant once known as The Docks is undergoing extensive renovations, with experienced Hospitality Manager Kevin Pitt in charge of operations. Pitt worked at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and opened North Bay Grille in Kalispell, and spent many years in the restaurant and hotel business on the East Coast.

“It’s going to be a brand-new look and a brand-new feel,” he said of plans for the restaurant, which has yet to be named. “We’re trying to keep it at a price point so everyone can enjoy it. There’s a lot of diversity on the lake, people with families who’ve saved up for a vacation and others with expendable money. We want to attract not only tourists but locals as well.”

Making the marina a four-season spot through a destination restaurant is a primary goal of the new owners, Evans said.

“I think hiring Kevin is one of the signs for how committed they are to doing this right,” Evans said. “He’s doing an awful lot of research, asking the community what kind of restaurant would serve their needs year-round. He wants to create something so people who live in Kalispell would say it’s worth a drive down there, even in December.”

Evans said the marina will open as usual in May, and her company will start the leasing process for boat slips this week. From 100 to 110 slips will be available for private boat owners, as a dozen or so slips will be reserved for restaurant boat traffic.

The slips will be stabilized with fixes such as repairs of loose boards and new bumpers and the docks will be refurbished.

“They’re focused on making everything safer and more secure,” Evans said.

Gas pumps for boats will be replaced with newer models. Evans said that the owners are working closely with the Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that all environmental standards are met.

Other changes include remodeling an existing office space that previously housed a sales office. The building that was once Rosario’s restaurant eventually will be turned into a new food-service area also, Evans said, with no fixed timing for that project.

The former owners of Lakeside Marina and Restaurant, listed on county tax records as MED Residential LLC, attempted to use an auction company last year to sell the property, which previously had been listed for about $5.5 million. In August 2018, J.P. King Auction Co. announced the marina was under contract, but the sale fell through when prospective buyer, the McKee Group of Colorado, opted out of the deal.

Reporter Heidi Gaiser may be reached at 758-4438 or hgaiser@dailyinterlake.com.